Freezing Discretionary Spending

Obama is going to propose a freeze on discretionary spending to help rein in the budget. His proposals will affect roughly 3% of the budget. They’ll have no effect on non-discretionary spending, which includes programs like welfare, social security, veteran benefits, and payment of interest on the national debt. All of those have to be paid all the time, every time, according to federal law.

So what are the chances those spending cuts will be made in an election year? Slim to none. Times are hard and Congressmen want discretionary spending in their districts, even if it’s useless “pork barrel” spending on highways that go nowhere or condiment research projects (I’ve seen the guy that gets paid $70,000 a year to measure ketchup speed. Nice work if you can get it…). Congressmen may want to talk about cutting someone else’s program, but only to their constituents. In reality, they’re more likely to secure votes for their programs by promising to vote for everyone else’s program. That’s what we call logrolling.

It’s also what we call political economy. When a politician wants to get re-elected, he behaves in a way that’s often inconsistent with the way we want a politician to behave: in ourbest interests. Given that the way out of this current economic mess is to either experience pain now or to postpone the pain and feel a whole lot more later on, I bet we’ll see a lot of postponing and a lot of incumbents getting re-elected.

That’s a lot of concepts there… amazing how things happen to help the AP Government student understand the coursework…

6 thoughts on “Freezing Discretionary Spending

  1. Uchenna Anyiam

    Okay, so what if the president or some of the congressmen make public speeches about how logrolling is horrible for the economy and voting for congressmen that do this is bad etc. Wouldn’t that get the message out there and into people’s heads and make the congressmen think a bit more about what they do? Maybe?

  2. Chanel Wan

    So, if Obama was to do what you said Uchenna, try to inform everyone about how logrolling is horrible for the economy and that voting for those congressmen is also bad, he will either make people either vote for those congressmen more or create more trouble in Congress by doing so.

    I personally think that people should look more deeply into the men who they elect for Congress. Like instead of just looking at what they are saying actually look at their actions of what they have done. Logrolling is bound to happen when Congress men have as much power as they have.

  3. deanwebb Post author

    Well, Obama did mention that logrolling is bad, mmmkay? but it’ll still happen.

    And how can we look at them more deeply when all candidates are pretty much the same?

  4. Chanel Wan

    I was thinking in looking at what they support and what type of laws that they pass.

  5. Uchenna Anyiam

    Mr. Webb what do you thing about the Republicans pulling this supermajority frenzy junk? They are crippling the legislation process with this stuff!

  6. Hugo Espiritu

    I’m just wondering when the logrolling will stop. I’m thinking that the economy will get to a point where logrolling isn’t going to cut it and the economy will just “fix itself”(all will come crashing down).

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