President Obama proposes to install one of his campaign hacks as deputy budget director at the Office of Management and Budget, even though she apparently has no budgeting experience. Her name is Heather Higginbottom; she entered politics through public-school advocacy work and made the classic Washington move of founding a think tank in order to put herself in charge of it. She’s done the usual campaign-job/political-appointment shuffle, having worked for John Kerry and for his campaign, and then for the Obama campaign before being appointed to a policy job.
Her command of budgetary questions is at issue, because she has failed to answer a very straightforward question. President Obama has said that under his ten-year budget plan, “We will not be adding more to the debt.” The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office finds that under President Obama’s ten-year budget plan, we will be adding more to the debt — every year, in fact, with deficits grazing the trillion-dollar mark. So, Sen. Jeff Sessions asked, which is it? Are we adding to the debt or not? Because we might like to know whether the national debt, already onerous, is going to be made much heavier.
Apparently, Ms. Higginbottom is a multitasker, capable of not reading the newspapers while not getting any meaningful budgeting experience. Obama’s claim has been debunked, pretty thoroughly, by some of his best liberal-media buddies.
Is Obama’s statement defensible? Her answer: “I cannot express how the American people would hear that.” Expression is a problem for her, and I think her language skills need some work: She called Obama’s budget a “milestone.” Surely she meant “millstone,” tethered uncomfortably around our national neck as the waters rise?
You may watch her fascinatingly inept testimony here. Normally, I do not much care for senatorial badgering of this sort, but Senator Sessions is right to bring attention to this appointment.