Obama, Budget Cutter?
Following a week of tea party rallies that the president professes to have barely noticed, a couple stories in today’s Providence Journal suggest some modest attempts to puncture his big-spending image. Considering that some banks have suggested that they’d like to return bailout money to the feds, it isn’t surprising that the administration thinks more money might not be necessary. Of course, there’s a twist:
President Obama’s top economic advisers have determined that they can shore up the nation’s banking system without having to ask Congress for more money any time soon, administration officials said.
In a significant shift, White House and Treasury Department officials now say they can stretch what is left of the $700 billion financial bailout fund simply by converting the government’s existing loans to the nation’s 19 biggest banks into common stock. That would turn the government aid into available capital for a bank — and give the government a large equity stake in return.
Lacking time for extensive research, I put this forward as only an impression, but this doesn’t strike me as all that much of a shift from where we were a week ago.
Here’s the other (little) bone the administration is throwing out there to the angry crowds:
President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official.
The budget cuts, while they would account to a minuscule portion of federal spending, are intended to signal the president’s determination to cut spending and reform government, the official said.
Precisely, that $100 million would represent 0.0028% of the $3.5 trillion 2010 budget — 0.0083% of the $1.2 trillion deficit. So how many protesters do we have to gather across the country to merit, say, a 1% decrease in the budget?