So the Obama Administration is preparing to announce a freeze on Federal discretionary spending through 2013.
And they are proposing it in the middle of a the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
Apparently, it's a political decision made in response to a single election. Great. A single U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is now dictating fiscal policy for the next three years.
It might at least make some sense if it were a smart political decision. But there's nothing to suggest that it's anything but unalloyed idiocy.
In 1937, FDR followed the same course, pulling back his stimulus programs that had been boosting the economy. The results were catastrophic. The economy tanked. And so did the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Predictably, Republicans won 79 seats in the 1938 midterms.
Fortunately, FDR recognized his mistake and reversed course, increasing spending and boosting the economy -- even before the start of World War II.
Flash forward seventy years, and President Obama is making the same mistake, probably with the same consequences.
Except this time he's got the benefit of history. But he's refused to learn history's lesson.
It seems impossible to believe, but there it is. One of the worst decisions -- if not the worst decision -- that the administration could make. And they've made it.
Such a waste.
Update (11:10PM): Jared Bernstein, Biden's top economist, was on Rachel Maddow to defend the plan. Based on what he said, it sounds like my initial take was off-target -- the proposed freeze is narrower in scope than I had feared, so it probably won't be a disaster for the economy. But in the sense that the freeze apparently won't be much of a freeze, it seems that the plan may end looking like a major political gimmick. That's not good, but at least it won't wreck the economy.