Barack Obama (R-IL)

This "spending freeze" that Obama's set to announce at tomorrow's State of the Union is beyond baffling. Does this president have any idea what's happening in this country or is he only concerned with placating republicans, Wall Street and Rahm Emanuel? As I've said previously, I am no economic wiz. I've never had a moment of interest in "investing" in the market or whatever the hell people do to make nickels, but even the biggest economic dolt simply can't make sense of this. Some are claiming that Obama's starting to lose his base. Based on what I'm hearing/reading/making up, I think the base may be lost. There are the more moderate democrats who still stand with him, but the liberal part of the party (Yes, Barack and Reid, these people do exist and they, well, put you into office) are leaving in droves.

Paul Krugman in New York Times today:

Obama Liquidates Himself

A spending freeze? That’s the brilliant response of the Obama team to their first serious political setback?

It’s appalling on every level.

It’s bad economics, depressing demand when the economy is still suffering from mass unemployment. Jonathan Zasloff writes that Obama seems to have decided to fire Tim Geithner and replace him with “the rotting corpse of Andrew Mellon” (Mellon was Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary, who according to Hoover told him to “liquidate the workers, liquidate the farmers, purge the rottenness”.)

It’s bad long-run fiscal policy, shifting attention away from the essential need to reform health care and focusing on small change instead.

And it’s a betrayal of everything Obama’s supporters thought they were working for. Just like that, Obama has embraced and validated the Republican world-view — and more specifically, he has embraced the policy ideas of the man he defeated in 2008. A correspondent writes, “I feel like an idiot for supporting this guy.”

Now, I still cling to a fantasy: maybe, just possibly, Obama is going to tie his spending freeze to something that would actually help the economy, like an employment tax credit. (No, trivial tax breaks don’t count). There has, however, been no hint of anything like that in the reports so far. Right now, this looks like pure disaster.