The Agenda

I’ve Neglected the President’s Budget Proposal

To understand why I’ve neglected the president’s budget proposal, I recommend reading Keith Hennessey’s post on the subject, watching White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew’s recent interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, and, finally, reading the following from Peter Suderman of Reason, which drew on Ryan Lizza’s reporting for TNY:

On March 5, 2010, with ObamaCare on the verge of passing, Nancy-Anne DeParle, then the White House’s point person on the health care reform law, and Peter Orszag, the administration’s top budgeting official, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post making the case for the law’s fiscal responsibility and highlighting its supposed budgetary savings.

A few days later, in a post on the White House blog titled “No Gimmick,” Orszag pushed back against critics who said that the law’s much-touted deficit-reduction projections were based on gimmickry.

In fact, the administration did use gimmicks to hide the law’s costs. And both the president and his advisers were perfectly aware of it months before either the op-ed or the blog post were written.

According to a reported internal White House memo dated December 20, 2009, White House advisers had explicitly recommended to President Obama that he give up on “honest budgeting”—in particular, that he “fiddle” with the health law’s costs in order to hide its costs. The president approved the move.

Hennessey suggests that the White House has continued to embrace the creative presentation of its tax and spending proposals, and Lew’s remarkable insistence that it is in fact reasonable to count planned reductions on military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan helps complete the picture.

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Jack Phillips has a right to free speech, which includes freedom from compelled speech.