TODAY'S QUESTION: Should President Obama spend on unemployment or enact a spending freeze?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 9:36 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 3, 2010

* The headline to this story has been edited to reflect that Obama has proposed a spending freeze.

President Barack Obama focused much of his attention on job creation for Americans during his State of the Union address Wednesday night. An issue that has dominated headlines for months, the president has now proposed $100 billion to add to this year’s deficit in order to help the cause. That would bring the nation’s deficit to $1.6 trillion for this fiscal year.  

Obama’s new budget, which is expected to mirror many of the ideas in his first budget, predicts the national deficit will start to drop off in 2011 to $1.3 trillion. But, according to an Associated Press story, “The administration is proposing a three-year freeze on spending for a whole swath of domestic government agencies. Military, veterans, homeland security and big benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare would not feel the pinch.”

The freeze is designed to save $250 billion over 10 years, and it would affect $447 billion in spending.

Do you agree with the amount of money President Obama is proposing to spend or should the freeze start immediately?

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Charlie Corollo February 2, 2010 | 2:26 p.m.

$250 Billion? Really? Is that it? More smoke and mirrors from this inept administration.

(Report Comment)
Paul Meyer February 25, 2010 | 10:36 a.m.

President Obama has now spent my children's and my grandchildren's money mostly on Democrat re-election items (well except for the turtle tunnel in FL). No government can create real jobs. IT is only the private sector that creates jobs. Government does three things OK... kill people, break things and give bad haircuts. If something else needs to be done, do not let any government do it.

(Report Comment)
Daniel Jacobs February 25, 2010 | 11:29 a.m.

I have to take issue with the comments by Paul Meyer. If you think government cannot create real jobs, I would suggest you ponder how successful the big excavating and paving companies would be without MoDOT contracts. How about the big defense contracts for General Dynamics, GE, Boeing and others? How about small-business loans? Historically, government has been the ONLY effective engine for economic recovery.

About the same number of people die EVERY YEAR in the course of their employment as those lost on 9/11. If you regularly check the news, you should be aware that private individuals seem to be doing just fine when it comes to killing their fellow citizens. Deaths every year attributable to domestic violence or just a lack of health insurance total in the tens of thousands. We don't appear to need government help with killing people.

Where are these calls for accepting individual responsibility when it comes to blaming government for everything? I do applaud your grandchildren, however, for being such hire earners at such a tender age-they've already paid income tax that has already been spent?

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote February 25, 2010 | 3:03 p.m.

I would like to respond to Mr. Meyer's comment: "President Obama has now spent my children's and my grandchildren's money mostly on Democrat re-election items..."

In addition to Mr. Meyer, a number of prominent media outlets as well as most Republicans are pushing this idea that our 2009 $1.4 trillion budget deficit is due mainly to Obama's policies. I don't think the facts support this conclusion.
In January 2009 the CBO released a budget report that predicted, absent any new legislative measures, the 2009 budget deficit would be $1.2 trillion:
Note that this estimate occurred prior to Pres. Obama's inauguration.
In Mr. Obama's first year in office the only additional spending that significantly impacts our budget deficit was ARRA (the stimulus bill). An analysis of CBO numbers by CBPP ( ) found that the following legislative initiatives are the main drivers of the 2009 deficit:
Economic down turn: $418 billion
TARP, Fannie, Freddie rescue: $245 billion
ARRA: $200 billion
Afghanistan/Iraq: $178 billion
Bush era tax cuts: $364 billion
An additional driver of our debt is the Medicare Part D, however the CBPP was unable to calculate an exact number for its effect on the 2009 deficit. Excluding Medicare Part D, the total cost of these initiatives ($418 + $245 + $200 + $178 + $364) is $1.405 trillion. $200 billion/$1.405 trillion = 14.23%. If one wants to point fingers at individuals responsible for our budget deficit, it is a bit disingenuous to identify the guy that is responsible for less than 15% of it. Lastly, ARRA as well as TARP are one time outlays, they only impact our immediate short term deficit. The rest have long term impacts (+10 years) on the federal budget.

(Report Comment)

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