Week in Review: Obama’s Speech, a $3.6 Trillion Spending Plan and a New Cato Senior Fellow

Obama Outlines National Plan in First Address to Congress

President Obama’s first address to Congress laid out a laundry list of new spending and provided hints as to what will be contained in the budget – a so-called “blueprint for America’s future”– he submitted to lawmakers Thursday.

In a new video, Cato Institute scholars offer their analyses of the president’s non-State-of-the-Union Address.

While watching the speech, Cato scholars offered live commentary on Cato’s blog and Twitter feed.

Expanding on his recent article, “Obama’s Shock Doctrine,” Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz says that Obama’s speech further proves that his administration is using scare tactics and the financial crisis to further an agenda that will expand the size of government.

President Obama made good on his reputation for giving excellent speeches. He seemed calm and confident. It’s no wonder that instant polls show that most viewers liked it.

That reaction is all part of the guiding strategy of this administration: using a crisis atmosphere to amass more money and power in Washington. There’s a long history of government growth in times of crisis such as wars, natural disasters, or economic shocks. Think of FDR’s revolutionary “first 100 days” or LBJ’s driving through his Great Society programs in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

George W. Bush did it, too, with both the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq after the shock of 9/11. And in so doing, he left his successor both a presidency and a federal government with unprecedented powers, ready to be employed for a different agenda.

For analysis of Obama’s speech, Cato scholars weigh in by topic on the president’s plans for America’s future.

Obama’s New Budget Includes $3.6 Trillion in Spending

On Thursday, the Obama administration introduced its new budget framework for the coming years, including $3.6 trillion in spending for the current fiscal year.

Chris Edwards, Cato’s director of tax policy studies, says that despite what Obama might say behind a microphone, the new administration has little interest in fiscal responsibility.

President Obama said some encouraging words about federal spending in his first major speech as president, but the budget released by his administration today reveals a substantial disconnect between his rhetoric and his policy.

The president says the money in his new budget will be spent wisely, but Boaz explains why it’s impossible for the government to spend trillions of dollars without waste or fraud.

In the new edition of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers, Chris Edwards offers six ways Congress should cut spending.

Cato Welcomes Tucker Carlson

Television commentator, author and journalist Tucker Carlson has joined the Cato Institute as a senior fellow.

Carlson will use his initial time with Cato to focus on writing a book on the state of the American polity. Through other writings as well as media and public speaking appearances, he will also seek to educate the broader public about how the libertarian philosophy differs from the standard liberal and conservative orthodoxies embodied in the two main U.S. political parties.

Carlson was co-host of the staple CNN debate program “Crossfire” and also had his own programs on MSNBC (“Tucker”) and PBS (“Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered”), as well as appearing regularly on numerous other news programs. Though sometimes showcased by these networks as the “conservative” point of view, Carlson became a dependable critic of numerous Bush administration policies, including wasteful spending and the war in Iraq.

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