Orszag’s Alfred E. Neuman moment on debt
posted at 5:25 pm on April 2, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
Welcome to 1984, and not in a pleasant, LA Olympics – economic expansion way. No, we’re talking George Orwell, especially with Obama’s budget flack Peter Orszag. In a press briefing last week, Orzag expressed bewilderment when challenged on the spiraling national debt, despite his own projections showing the massive increases in debt created by Obama’s policies (via Morning Coffee):
Q Hi, Peter. Thanks for joining us this morning. Two questions, both are related to the task force. One is, could you be clear — a little clearer, do you intend to raise revenue only through enforcement of the tax gap, or do you also intend to raise revenue from tax simplification and the review of the corporate structure?
And secondly, a related question, you know, when you all unveiled this budget you talked a lot about fiscal responsibility, and the end result is spiraling debt, basically. And I’m wondering if you see this task force as a means to begin to address that.
MR. ORSZAG: Well, let me answer that second question first. Again, I don’t know what spiraling debt you’re referring to, but we’re inheriting a budget situation that is a mess, and that we’re working our way out of. And under both budget resolutions, the deficit is reduced in half — by more than half by 2013, and actually then is either stable or declining between 2013 and 2014. So I guess I just — I take issue with the conjecture that we’re — you know, there’s spiraling debt here.
One has to bear in mind that Orszag was the man who presciently set the odds of a Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac failure at 3,000,000 to 1, and that such a failure would only cost the government $2 million. That cutting analysis came at the behest of … Freddie Mac. While at the CBO, Orszag also helpfully corroborated the claims from the controlling party of Congress — Democrats — that Social Security would have surpluses for the next eleven years. Eight months later, the surpluses have disappeared.
Just in case you are tempted to fall for Orszag’s “What, me worry?” analysis again, here are the CBO and OMB projections for deficits over the next twelve years from the Washington Post, courtesy of our friends at Heritage:
Even the rosier White House estimates put the deficits higher each year than anything seen in the past 15 years. All of those deficits get added to the national debt, which is why reporters called it spiraling, and not spiraling downwards. No one who sees these projections can argue that we’re not rapidly adding to the national debt at a rate not seen since World War II, if then.
Well, no one outside of the Barack Obama Unicorn and Rainbows Admnistration, where the national debt apparently doesn’t exist. If Obama set out to deliberately pick an Alfred E. Neuman for his budget office, he couldn’t have done any better than Peter “What spiraling debt?” Orszag.
Update: I mistakenly credited the graphic to Heritage. They did have it on their blog, but it originated with the Washington Post. I’ve added the link; my apologies for the oversight.