Except when locked in a battle in which it is trying to fool the public into accepting a 1 trillion plus spending program as a “money saver”. Then, apparently, it is quite all right to delay the scheduled release of its revised budget numbers (based on known economic indicators):
The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today’s bleak landscape.
The administration’s annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama’s budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.
The release of the update – usually scheduled for mid-July – has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.
And, of course, what it hopes to have in its pocket at that time is a health care reform bill passed by Congress. So why delay the budget update? Well, it isn’t going to be kind to the administration’s rosy speculation concerning deficit and growth, that’s why:
“Instead of a dream, this routine report could be a nightmare,” Tony Fratto, a former Treasury Department official and White House spokesman under President George W. Bush, said of the delayed budget update. “There are some things that can’t be escaped.”
The administration earlier this year predicted that unemployment would peak at about 9 percent without a big stimulus package and 8 percent with one. Congress did pass a $787 billion two-year stimulus measure, yet unemployment soared to 9.5 percent in June and appears headed for double digits.
Obama’s current forecast anticipates 3.2 percent growth next year, then 4 percent or higher growth from 2011 to 2013. Private forecasts are less optimistic, especially for next year.
Any downward revision in growth or revenue projections would mean that budget deficits would be far higher than the administration is now suggesting.
And then there’s the debt problem, which is headed to new and dizzying heights:
The nation’s debt – the total of accumulated annual budget deficits – now stands at $11.6 trillion. In the scheme of things, that’s more important than talking about the “deficit,” which only looks at a one-year slice of bookkeeping and totally ignores previous indebtedness that is still outstanding.
Even so, the administration has projected that the annual deficit for the current budget year will hit $1.84 trillion, four times the size of last year’s deficit of $455 billion. Private forecasters suggest that shortfall may actually top $2 trillion.
The administration has projected that the annual deficit for the current budget year will hit $1.84 trillion, four times the size of last year’s deficit of $455 billion. Private forecasters suggest that shortfall may top $2 trillion.
If a higher deficit and lower growth numbers are not part of the administration’s budget update, that will lead to charges that the White House is manipulating its figures to offer too rosy an outlook – the same criticism leveled at previous administrations.
Of course, if it does include the higher deficit and lower growth numbers, as it should, it would also most likely kill the costly push toward health care “reform”. And that is why it is being delayed.
How do I say that with such assurance? Because this is a routine and easily produced report despite what the administration is trying to claim.
White House officials say it is now expected in mid-August. They blame the delay on the fact that this is a transition year between presidencies and note that Obama didn’t release his full budget until early May – instead of the first week in February, when he put out just an outline.
Still, the update mainly involves plugging in changes in economic indicators, not revising program-by-program details. And indicators such as unemployment and gross domestic product changes have been public knowledge for some time.
Consider this: if those budget numbers looked good, would the White House postpone revealing them? Obama could use all the good news he can get at the moment, especially with two big-spending bills stalling in Congress.
Ironically, the White House budget director was making the rounds claiming those trying to delay the vote on health care were trying to kill it, all the while the administration is delaying the budget report with the purpose of depriving law makers the information they need in their consideration of the cost of such legislation.
Meanwhile, we are apparently on course to eat our way into prosperity as the Recovery Act spends your hard earned dollars on … cheese.
Who are these people?
I’m obviously mistaken if I think they’re in office to represent the citizens of the United States of America. Apparently, instead, they represent the Chinese:
“It’s important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America — and it’s our own consumption activity that’s causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.
That’s United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, folks.
Of course, after Locke shoots off his mouth and forgets for whom he works, the Joe Biden treatment comes into play. Behold, the official disclaimer that makes it all officially okeydokey:
“Secretary Locke has been very clear on emphasizing the importance of fair trade as a part of the United States’ relationship with China. He believes U.S. companies should not be disadvantaged by Chinese imports not bound by responsible policies to reduce carbon emissions. China and the US must work together to ensure a level playing field and reduce our carbon footprints. The Secretary’s trip to China demonstrated his commitment to fair trade and his belief that both the United States and China can benefit from shared investments and cooperation in clean energy that will lead to commercial and environmental benefits for both countries.”
In other words, he didn’t say what he said and we say so. Orwell would be freakin’ proud.
I swear – sometimes words just fail me when I watch the absolute travesty our government has become. And no, not just since January. But they sure have caused the process to speed up.
In this podcast, Bruce, Michael, Bryan, and Dale engage in the usual libertarian carping about government, and whether or not we “owe” the GOP something. We don’t, by the way.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.
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Call in number: (718) 664-9614
Yes, friends, it is a call-in show, so do call in.
Subject(s): Libertarians and the GOP (do we “owe” them anything?), language and how the Obama administration is using and abusing it, and health care (that’s for you Dale), it continues to heat up as support appears to be weakening both in Congress and in the country. If we have time – the “certified” election that never was in Honduras.
We now have the White House Budget Director weighing in on health care reform legislation:
ORSZAG: We have to remember: there are some who are advocating delay simply because they don’t have anything to put on the table. The typical Washington bureaucratic game of — ‘if you don’t have a better alternative, just delay in the hope that that kills something’ is partly what’s playing out here.
Of course what Peter Orszag seems not to understand is that most of those trying to delay (and eventually kill) the legislative monstrosity called “health care reform” are quite happy with putting nothing on the table as they don’t buy into the manufactured crisis being whipped up by the administration.
Nothing of earth shaking consequence is going to happen in the health care world if this bill isn’t passed before August. In fact, most likely that statement is true of next August and the following one as well.
What you really hear Orszag subtly acknowledging is the longer this goes on, the more people are going to become aware of what is in the bill and object to the cost and intrusion. This isn’t about “better alternatives” or their lack thereof. This is about the administration’s fear that delay means defeat because of what’s in the bill. Hence the attempt to rush something through before it can be read and understood and certainly before members of Congress have to go home and face their angry and concerned constituents.
That’s the basic message of a post by Melissa Clouthier blasting those who voted for Bob Barr.
Here, let me quote her:
Don’t blame me!” Bellowed one of my redneck relatives,” I voted for Ross Perot!” Did ya now? And that vote wasn’t a “screw you” vote, that felt inwardly satisfying while it also served Bill Clinton the presidency on a nice, silver platter (the one taking a prominent position on a shelf in his sprawling residence out on Long Island)? Oh no! It was a vote of conscience. It was a morally superior vote. Sniff.
Have conservatives, libertarians, and other factions on the Right learned nothing from history?
So now, people are coming out of the woodwork saying, “Don’t blame me! I voted for Bob Barr!” I ask you, Is that something to be proud of?
You know, when you start something like this, it is usually best to have the facts at hand so you don’t say something silly like:
President Obama is a disaster for America and I hold those who voted for Bob Barr every bit as accountable as if the so-called principled person voted for Barack Obama himself. It was a vote that aided and abetted an enemy of freedom. How can a freedom-loving person be proud of this?
Bob Barr pulled all of 511,324 votes. Statistically that’s 0% of the electorate. Had every Bob Barr voter voted for John McCain, he’d have ended up with 58,854,995 votes instead of 58,343,671 to Obama’s 66,882,230.
Apparently Clouthier believes that libertarians are a wholly owned subsidiary of the GOP and due a righteous lecture for their lack of support.
It may be time for a little reality check for the good doctor.
A) Obviously if every vote Barr got had gone to McCain, it wouldn’t have increased McCain’s final count by even a percentage point. So the attempt to blame your abysmally poor GOP candidate’s abysmally poor showing on Barr voters is technically a non-starter.
B) The reason the GOP sucked so badly in the last election has absolutely nothing to do with Bob Barr and/or libertarians. It had to do with how poorly your party governed. Like most libertarians I haven’t voted for a Republican since Reagan. And frankly what happened to the size of government under Reagan is one reason why. Bush compounded the problem (Medicare Part D? “No Child Left Behind”?) and the eternally squishy McCain promised more of the same.
C) The only reason libertarians even somewhat identify with your party is because it sometimes pretends to be concerned about less spending and smaller government. Unfortunately, as I imply above, the GOP mostly just talks the talk and rarely walks the walk.
D) The GOP picked John McCain, not libertarians. John McCain was the worst of all worlds and your party gave him the nod. He was a candidate who had once been considered as a VP pick for John Kerry for heaven sake! He proved he was an enemy of the 1st Amendment with his campaign finance bill. His definition of “compromise” was to give the Democrats what they want.
E) Libertarians don’t owe the GOP a damned thing. You want libertarian support? Then quit whining and lecturing and earn it! Put up candidates that actually do what you claim to want to do in terms of spending and the size of government. Yeah, that’s right – cut spending drastically and reduce the size of government radically and then you can start asking why libertarians aren’t supporting the GOP. Then you’ll have grounds to do so. But until then – we owe you nothing.
Barack Obama sits in the White House not because of Bob Barr or the libertarian vote. He sits there because the GOP has completely and totally failed to live up to its claimed philosophy and its word for decades. John McCain’s nomination told libertarians all they needed to know about the lack of seriousness within the GOP to remedy that situation.
If the GOP wants libertarian votes, then it had better mend its ways. We don’t do “tents” and we don’t do “plantations” and we don’t belong to the GOP. You want us, you’d better do what it takes to get us – and you’re not even close right now.
UPDATE: Melissa Clouthier graciously acknowledges my criticism and for the most part understands the reason for it. She does, however, ask a couple of questions that deserve an answer and make a couple off remarks that deserve comment.
A Barr vote did nothing except register discontent.
Really? So those who voted for Barr couldn’t conceivably have been voting “for” something, only “registering discontent”?
With that bit of disrespect as a preface, here are the questions:
What about the next election? You know, when there are more impure Republicans? Do the libertarians plan to vote for an independent or vote for a Democrat?
Well now that it is hopefully clear that libertarians will actually vote for something and not just “register discontent”, the answer should be obvious. So here’s a question for the GOP – who do you plan to run that will cause us to vote for you? The ball is in your court, not ours.
All I’m saying is that McCain WOULD be better than Obama and I don’t want to see the Right fracture into delusion that nets us socialists in charge. That is worse. Much worse. It is worse right now.
In the case of McCain, “would be better” is really a non-starter of an argument for him among libertarians. In defeat, of course, he’s suddenly sounding Republican again, but McCain is a Snowe/Collins “Republican” from way back. Frankly I think you’ll find most libertarians believe that Obama and McCain are equally awful, just in different areas.
But the Libertarians don’t help anything by flopping around at the edges and indulging in third party fantasies. Libertarians needs to put their formidable energy into the Republican party at the bottom and take the party back to constitutional greatness.
Fixing the GOP is your job, not ours – you need to quit trying to outsource it. Libertarians have no desire to be a part of the GOP per se because there is enough not to like to keep us away. But libertarians will support a GOP that commits itself to the principles of less spending, smaller government and less government intrusion. But only when the GOP actually does something about them – find and run a candidate who actually believes in those principles and elect Republicans to Congress who will help he or she act on those principles.
Until then libertarians aren’t going to support the GOP. You can call it “flopping around the edges” or whatever you wish, but that won’t change the fact that until the GOP actually does the hard work of recreating itself in alignment with its stated principles it can’t expect support from libertarians just because the GOP thinks the Democrat’s candidate is worse than theirs.
Turns out the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (AARA) was not designed for full economic recovery, but rather to “stabilize” the downturn. That’s the word from White House officials today, who held off-camera briefings with reporters on how the AARA is working so far.
“This legislation was designed to cushion the downturn,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “That’s why we have always talked about this as one function of economic recovery.”
When pressed about the change in terminology, Gibbs said he was not trying to temper expectations after the fact. “I can probably find 15 or 20 occasions when I said this in the lead up,” Gibbs said, explaining that he had always defined the AARA as part of a “multi-legged stool.”
Of course when we were in such a gawd-awful rush to pass the thing it was sold like this:
That is why I have moved quickly to work with my economic team and leaders of both parties on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that will immediately jumpstart job creation and long-term growth. …
Jumpstart job creation and long-term growth? That sounds like what a “stimulus” plan should be designed to do. That’s what it promised to do (remember the warning that without the AARA unemployment would go over 8%?).
It is also what it has failed to do.
So, revising history on the fly, it was now never designed to that.
No wonder Amazon is out there deleting Orwell books from Kindle – who needs to read fiction when you have an administration like this.
Criminal investigators in Honduras have reportedly found computers containing the certified election results of the referendum which was to confirm Mel Zelaya as president for…however long he wanted to be president, I guess. Anyway, the certified results contained voting tallies, information about the voters, and other electoral information. An example:
One of the district attorneys that participated in the operation that took place this Friday showed reporters an official voting result from the Technical Institute Luis Bogran, of Tegucigalpa, in which the specific number of people that participated in table 345, where there were 550 ballots, 450 of which were votes in favor of Zelaya’s proposal and 30 were against, in addition to 20 blank ballots and 30 ballots, which were nullified.
That’s a very complete report of the election, and contains a wealth of details about the results that would be a credit to the authorities in charge of any election.
Of course, it would be even more impressive if the referendum had actually taken place.
There was no referendum. It was aborted by the legal, constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya from power.
And yet, in the presidential palace’s computer, Mr. Zelaya apparently had a complete, certified result of an election that never took place.
If the Honduran authorities are to be believed, the evidence is that he had already completed a plan to steal the election, and the only remaining act to be performed was to conduct a sham referendum, whose results had already been determined.
Yet, this is the guy that the Obama Administration and the OAS thinks should be the legitimate leader of Honduras.
Almost all adults figure out early in life how to deal with pushy salesmen. But there’s a small supply of gullible fools that keep alive the classic sales scam: “You must act now to get this deal!”
Any reasonably savvy adult knows how to deal with such a tactic. You pull back and don’t allow the salesman to bully you into doing something prematurely. The urgency he’s injecting into the situation is purely artificial, and it’s to his benefit for it to be there, not yours.
Obama’s continues to show contempt for the American people by using this tactic. It was slightly plausible for passing the bloated, pork-laden stimulus bill, though many of us saw through it. It’s been a common theme for the cap-and-trade legislation, with presumed incipient global warming as the urgency creator. Again, the excuse is slightly plausible but is far from established if you look at the other side of the debate.
But now he’s ready to drop even the facade of plausibility. Witness his attempted sale of the healthcare bill:
“This is what the debate in Congress is all about: whether we’ll keep talking and tinkering and letting this problem fester as more families and businesses go under and more Americans lose their coverage,” Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Or whether we’ll seize this opportunity — one we might not have again for generations [emphasis mine] — and finally pass health insurance reform this year, in 2009.”
Translation: Act now! You may never be offered this deal again! You’ll be sorry if you don’t act right away!
This is nonsense on toast. If his health insurance reform is such a good idea, why won’t it continue to be a good idea after more discussion on it? Why can’t it pass next year after Congress has actually had a chance to read the thousand page bill? Why the rush?
Because this salesman senses that he’s just about to lose his potential customers. His approval figures are dropping, Congressional members are being barraged with email and being visited by protesters, and the decrepitude, insolvency, and dysfunctionality of the healthcare systems already put in place by the government become more obvious every month.
Obama is probably right. If his more-or-less socialist healthcare reform doesn’t pass this year, it will probably be shelved for at least ten years. But that’s not because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime special deal. It’s because it’s a bad idea. And the very fact that he tries to sell it the way he does should tip off all but the most gullible to realize it.