Monday, July 20, 2009

Most. Transparent. Administration. Ever. Or not.

On the campaign trail last year, then candidate Obama promised that his administration would be the most transparent administration in the history of the United States. Now, he is president and apparently having second thoughts on his pledge. Instead of releasing updated budget numbers in mid-July as has traditionally happened, President Obama has made the brave and bold decision to delay releasing what will likely be a very, very bad report until after Congress leaves for its August break. Why, you might ask? Because releasing that data now would likely kill his dream of "reforming" health care. From the AP:

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

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 Aug. 7 on its summer recess.

The administration is pressing for votes before then on its $1 trillion health care initiative, which lawmakers are arguing over how to finance. The White House budget director, Peter Orszag, said on Sunday that the administration believes the "chances are high" of getting a health care bill by then. But new analyses showing runaway costs are jeopardizing Senate passage.

"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."

Hope. And Change. Or not. By the way, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that the current legislative proposal on health care would explode the already, exploding federal deficit: "According to CBO’s and JCT’s assessment, enacting H.R. 3200 would result in a
net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period."

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air offers his analysis:

Obama cannot afford to have another report hit the street showing that he has miscalculated — again — the extent of the deficit, just as he proposes a deficit-busting program. The White House has instead iced the report to keep people from seeing just how badly Democratic spending has dented the budget, and how revenues have not recovered despite their predictions of growth by Q2. They want to hold off those numbers until Obama has a bill he can sign on his desk, by which time it will be too late.

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. If the deficit looked better than their May predictions, or even if it looked the same, those numbers would have
already hit the front pages of newspapers across America and every network news
broadcast, with the message that the worst has passed.

This is a shell game, a 3-card Monty being played by the Obama administration. They are withholding data that rightfully belongs in the public square, so that the electorate can inform themselves of the nation’s fiscal standing before Congress votes to spend more of our grandchildren’s money. Perhaps the news media might remind Obama of this during his prime-time presser on Wednesday.

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