The president’s latest go-it-alone attempt to spur the economy

posted at 3:05 pm on November 9, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Actually, this one I rather like. His student loan reforms might have delivered a damaging message for little gain and his mortgage refinancing proposals might ultimately be pointless — but, with this latest move, at least President Unilateral doesn’t legislate through the executive branch. He just demands through an executive order that his administration, well, execute its business more efficiently:

The effort is aimed at reducing spending for travel, technology devices, printing, motor-vehicle use and swag by about 20%, according to the White House. The total amount saved is unclear, but the White House said the Department of Commerce alone would save $3 million this year by stopping service to 2,648 wireless devices that weren’t used over the past three months, including some assigned to retirees and former staff. …

The executive order also includes consolidating drivers for senior government officials – a move that the White House says would save $100,000 a year – as well as reducing paper transactions at the Treasury Department, and limiting travel by increasing the number of video and teleconferences.

To be sure, whatever the federal government will save by this measure will amount to no more than chump change — just eight minutes’ worth of federal spending, according to some estimates. (And let’s not even ask why the federal government presently pays for unused wireless devices for retired workers.) It is and always will be a fiction that we can eliminate the deficit just by cutting waste. Meaningful entitlement reform must factor in somewhere. But that’s not an excuse to not cut waste — every little bit helps — and this is a step that it is actually right and appropriate for the president to pursue. (If the president is really serious about cutting travel expenses, he’ll also support Sen. Tom Coburn’s already-introduced-but-stalled-thanks-to-Democrats bill to slash federal travel spending by 75 percent, but that’s probably too much to hope for.)

It embitters me a little to think he’ll use this — just as he used his more questionable student loan and mortgage reforms — to bolster his “active president against a do-nothing Congress” narrative (voters, please remember the Forgotten 15!), but that can’t be helped. Politicians in general are notoriously apt to do whatever necessary to take credit for success and to avoid blame for failure — and the president proves that rule more than most. In the meantime, at least this measure doesn’t appear poised to harm the economy, like so many of the president’s partisan proposals would. That’s something to be grateful for, at least.


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When is he going to start wearing a tacky uniform designed by Michelle…?

Seven Percent Solution on November 9, 2011 at 3:11 PM

How about not traveling to Bali on the taxpayer dime, not taking the wife to NYC for “date night”, and deciding to utilize an established compound like Camp David for weekend getaways rather than various Hyannisport villas?

Bishop on November 9, 2011 at 3:11 PM

The total amount saved is unclear

That should tell you they didn’t even bother trying to calculate how much could be saved, because it would cost the government more to do the estimate, than this executive order would have saved.

Remember Al Gore’s assigned task of ‘reinventing government‘? How much did that cost, and what did it do beyond keeping Al Gore occupied and well fed?

Skandia Recluse on November 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

He’s got to have something to put in the “accomplished” column.

ctmom on November 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

It’ll be interesting to hear the media stooges talk about this as if it’s meaningful. He’s “tackling the deficit” all on his own because those Republicans try to block his terrific idea to waste another half trillion dollars on pure waste.

forest on November 9, 2011 at 3:12 PM

He had to do something before he got on the plane to Bali and had the State Department buy some more of his books.

Mr. Bingley on November 9, 2011 at 3:13 PM

The total amount saved is unclear, but the White House said the Department of Commerce alone would save $3 million this year by stopping service to 2,648 wireless devices that weren’t used over the past three months, including some assigned to retirees and former staff. …

At the current spending rate, the federal government burns through $3 million dollars in 26.3 seconds.

Happy days are here again!

Cicero43 on November 9, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Does a million dollar Canadian campaign tour bus count a “swag”?

forest on November 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM

How about we cut the federal government for 4 years. That could add up to some serious change.

GarandFan on November 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Nancy Pelosi’s weekly private shuttle back to CA hardest hit!

(Yeah right)

shick on November 9, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Reduce printing and turn off the wireless phones for people who no longer work there. It took him three years in office to come up with this?

LASue on November 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

This is like a fat guy bragging that he ordered a Diet Coke with his super-sized Double Whopper meal.

RadClown on November 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

There might be some actual good in this but it’s not going to stop those who are in power from getting less of the expensive free-bees that they are used to getting. Instead it might mean that there will be tighter purse strings on the lower tiers of government.

shick on November 9, 2011 at 3:29 PM

This reminds me of when we needed to come up with a down payment for a new car and one of our youngest suggested we use his five dollar allowance for that week.

Hening on November 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Is there now a Department of Bonehead Ideas?

Blake on November 9, 2011 at 3:32 PM

So, come vacation time, will they have shoehorn FLOTUS and her snazzy wardrobe into the same plane as The Won?

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Blake on November 9, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Yes, it’s called the Obama Administration.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Does not buying another $70,000 of his book count?

MONEY SAVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Khun Joe on November 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM

O/T
—-

Breaking……

Idaho Capitol evacuated after white powder found; governor was in building, evacuated with other employees – @AP
6 Min.ago
**********

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canopfor on November 9, 2011 at 3:34 PM

I disagree with you Tina:

It is and always will be a fiction that we can eliminate the deficit just by cutting waste.

When you consider the missions of the Departments of Energy and Education and how long they have been in existence and that things have gotten worse under their watch…eliminating the entire department as waste and then targeted cuts would get us well on the path!!!!!

Hermain Cain, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have all looked at eliminating entire departments because they serve little or no purpose.

RedLizard64 on November 9, 2011 at 3:38 PM

How about a 100% reduction on US government flights for presidential dogs not flying with the first family? After seeing so much obfuscation by this president, I have to admit I expect to find a worm somewhere in this apple.

yetanotherjohn on November 9, 2011 at 3:38 PM

This reminds me of when we needed to come up with a down payment for a new car and one of our youngest suggested we use his five dollar allowance for that week.

Hening on November 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Heh. Cute story. (I hate cute.)

Seriously, your kid sounds like an ok dude.

davidk on November 9, 2011 at 3:45 PM

To be sure, whatever the federal government will save by this measure will amount to no more than chump change — just eight minutes’ worth of federal spending,

And therefore…what? Don’t do it?!?! Every issue the same with RINO’s…drop in the bucket!!! Why bother…

winston on November 9, 2011 at 3:45 PM

markknoller Mark Knoller Pres Obama signs Executive Order to cut waste & promote efficient govt spending. Uses 1 pen. No souvenir pens given out. Cutback on swag.

debg on November 9, 2011 at 3:49 PM

That picture of bho with his nose in the air makes me physically ILL! I really do not like that slug.
L

letget on November 9, 2011 at 3:52 PM

So the State Department won’t be buying copies of Obama’s book by the thousands any more?

Scrappy on November 9, 2011 at 3:56 PM

This is like a fat guy bragging that he ordered a Diet Coke with his super-sized Double Whopper meal.

RadClown on November 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

1985 McDonald’s commercial. William “The Refrigerator” Perry had 4 McDLT’s (a Quarter Pounder with lettuce and tomato served in a split box) two larger fries and a Diet Coke.

Why the hell am I still awake?

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on November 9, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Maybe to spur the economy he should start by firing the NLRB board. You have to read this.

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/nlrb-lawyer-we-screwed-us-economy#.TrrZYRghVz8.twitter

journeyintothewhirlwind on November 9, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Solomon writes:

The article gave me a new idea. You go to geneva and I get a job with airbus. We screwed up the us economy and now we can tackle europe.

journeyintothewhirlwind on November 9, 2011 at 4:20 PM

So he spends $800B on stimulus and saves $100K on drivers.

Yeah that’s sustainable for the future.

angryed on November 9, 2011 at 4:35 PM

I’m so so sick of this Douche-Nozzle & his Fugly wife….please just go away. We’re gonna roll-back all of his BS soooon!!

magstripe on November 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

I’m so so sick of this Douche-Nozzle & his Fugly wife….please just go away. We’re gonna roll-back all of his BS soooon!!

magstripe on November 9, 2011 at 4:50 PM

..feel th same way. On the other hand, I am gonna rip off the pic that Tina used for this post and tack it up on my office wall. Why? Because I am a masochist and love to torture myself!

The War Planner on November 9, 2011 at 5:12 PM

The amount of money Obama intends to “save,” chump change, really, will probably be completely negated by the hors d’oeuvres served on Air Force One as Obama jets away to yet another junket in Bali.

Here’s an idea. How about all of Obama’s meetings with foreign leaders be held via video conference until there is a balanced budget?

He told all of us little peons that we “all” had to sacrifice.

OK, champ chump, when are you gonna sacrifice?

coldwarrior on November 9, 2011 at 5:36 PM

How about an Executive Order banning Moochelle from visiting foreign countries and the President from golf courses?

Steve Z on November 9, 2011 at 5:40 PM

But this example perfectly illustrates EXACTLY what is wrong with big government. The Commerce Dept. alone is paying for nearly 2700 wireless devices that aren’t even being used. What is the ridiculous number of TOTAL wireless devices that are fringe benefits for the Commerce Dept ? Because I got news for you – every single worker DOES NOT need their very own Blackberry to do their job.

In the real world – the private sector – very few people likely get a company provided wireless device, and the ones that do, NEED them to effectively do their job. And its probably like 15% of the workforce, at most. Most people can probably get a small discount on their personal devices. And guess what? The MINUTE you leave, retire, or transfer to a position that doesn’t require said device, you are handing it back in PRONTO.

Why doesn’t that happen in government ? Why aren’t there people whose job it is to make sure that happens ? Because its not their money. And it never will be. No matter how many laws you pass, no matter what you do, ultimately nobody in government is really responsible for the bottom line. And the further you get from the top of the chain, the less people care about other people’s money.

deadrody on November 9, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Less pie and make-up for Michelle. Cutting back to a bucket of make-up a day for Michelle would feed a town of 10,000 for a week.

albill on November 9, 2011 at 6:28 PM

The picture of President Obama in this clip shows his real sense of arrogance and disdain for anyone other than himself.

He is so full of himself I am sure his conscientious is telling him “LET GO OF MY EGO”.

An example of his and the remainder of the liberal mindset can be seen in the current summit taking place in Hawaii, APEC. Much balleywho went into preparing to put on our best Aloha and it is turning out to be a flop.

Delegates (President Obama included) were given a special card on arrival that they show local merchants exempting them from paying any tax for their purchases. However, the merchant must pickup the tax for them. Example, a delegate purchases an item for $10,000 plus tax of 4.5% or $450 equals $10,450 due to merchant. However, the merchant must enter the purchase as a full transaction of $10,450.00 on the tape, but only put $10,000 in the register (because the customer is special and exempt). Of course the merchant is expected to smile and say Aloha/Mahalo.

Hawaii’s GET tax is added to every transaction, so now the merchant has to pay 4.5% in GET on their total sales monthly. So the $10,000.00 purchase was recorded as $10,450.00 and because GET in Hawaii is compounded GET or $470.25 total obligation for the one transaction of the month or $10,920.25 (and if paid by credit card the merchant picks up the obligation of all bank/card transactions to) – what a memorable transaction.

MSGTAS on November 10, 2011 at 9:34 AM