From The Associated Press
Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers around the United States:
On Obama's federal spending freeze:
The White House has been cranking out initiatives daily in an effort to regain the public's confidence, and on Tuesday, its target was the enormous federal deficit. Aides to President Barack Obama disclosed that his forthcoming budget will call for a three-year freeze on "non-security discretionary funding." That's bureaucratese for capping everything but defense, homeland security, veterans, international affairs and entitlements (for example, Medicare and welfare), with no adjustments for inflation. That would result in $250 billion less being spent over the coming decade than currently projected, said Rob Nabors, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. Although it's merely a gesture, it's a good one that sends the right signals to Congress and the public.
Skeptics were quick to note how little of the budget actually would be affected -- about 17 percent -- and how small the savings seem in comparison to the $6 trillion in total deficits expected over the coming decade. And presidential budgets are just proposals; Congress controls the purse strings. It's hard to say how well received Obama's latest offering will be, given how few details have been released. ...
The administration's strategy for attacking the mounting national debt also includes enacting comprehensive health care reform and establishing a commission to help close the long-term budget gap. Those are worthy goals, although achieving them will depend on a rare show of bipartisan support. (Even that may not be enough -- witness Tuesday's defeat of a bipartisan Senate proposal to create a deficit commission.) The president's call for a freeze is a much more limited step, but it's a good start. We look forward to seeing how he plans to pare federal programs, and we urge Congress to get serious about curbing its spending appetite.
-- Los Angeles Times