A spending freeze is a stupid idea. Fortunately, as far as I can tell, Barack Obama does not in tend to propose one. He’s proposing an overall budget cap on discretionary non-security spending, but intends to move money around within that cap. If he’d called it “cut and invest,” there wouldn’t be quite such howls of outrage.
I’m still not happy; the notion that “security” is a different, sacrosanct budget makes no sense, and I’d like to see the federal government doing more in lots of discretionary non-security areas, starting with a bigger NSF budget. But there’s less here than meets the eye. And it’s hard to see how Obama could have convincingly gone after some sacred cows without announcing a hard budget constraint. We’ll know more when we see the actual budget, but right now I see no reason for despair. Who knows? We might see some cuts in farm subsidies and NASA.