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.(Paul Krugman, “Obama liquidates himself,” Salon, 26 January 2010)
Good growth -- that is, growth in something other than the military, which is just wastage, if not worse -- makes a lot of people anxious. They simply did not grow up in nurturing-enough environments to believe that they DESERVE good things in life, even if this just means the equal opportunity to see a doctor as anyone else. If growth continues, if Obama seems a president to some extent still intent on making America more peaceful, fair, and hopeful, he would increasingly make many, many Americans feel nervous, if not hysteric. To them, good things, the chance at good things, means they can expect punishment for aiming at something they cannot believe they can have, seek to have, without being punished for their greedy aspiration. To them, it is the parents -- the ones kids grew up trying to placate, entertain, please, not disturb -- are the ones who MUST be attended to, lest they abandon you and make you feel absolutely vulnerable. That these kids are now adults, doesn't matter -- their parents are still in them, in the form of the superego, who/that rules over the rest of the psyche.
Krugman grew up in a healthy background, and thus can't make sense of what Obama is going through -- what many Americans are going through.Obama is now in to make Americans feel less prey to being punished, and he can accomplish this, by inhibiting America's chance at good growth.