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.


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What me worry?

Christian Conservative on April 2, 2009 at 5:31 PM

When you create the crisis and exacerbate it for your own benefit, of course you don’t see it as a negative. On the contrary.

John D on April 2, 2009 at 5:31 PM

2012 looks a little less horrific, though the debt spiral then continues and all of this is based on the rosiest of projections.

No need to worry at all.

myrenovations on April 2, 2009 at 5:31 PM

Yea, we made what we inherited worse, but no worries.

ctmom on April 2, 2009 at 5:33 PM

its a futile effort to talk reason to an idiot

gatorboy on April 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM

The thing is this is so contrived to make election year look good. If they have the power to tweek things so closely as this why can’t they just fix the economy.

petunia on April 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Where can we find Spy vs. Spy in the budget documents?

BobMbx on April 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM

The pitchforks are a comin’

Theworldisnotenough on April 2, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Just run it through Timmy’s special Turbo Tax software , and the debt is gone.

the_nile on April 2, 2009 at 5:35 PM

I hate how the Obama admin places the 2009 Budget on Bush. Correct me if I am wrong. but no 2009 budget was passed and signed by Bush. 2009 was continuing resolutions until Obama became President. Then came the “Stimulus” than the Omnibus spending bill.

WashJeff on April 2, 2009 at 5:36 PM

When the checks bounce, the game will come to and end, but not before.

Total collapse and reset is the only way out.

Scotsman on April 2, 2009 at 5:38 PM

we’re inheriting a budget situation that is a mess

Please explain, Mr. Orszag, how so? What is the amount of Deficit that you inherited? $800 Billion? So how is adding an additional $9.2 Trillion, (you know that a Trillion is bigger than a Billion, right?) going to make the budget situation better?

PappaMac on April 2, 2009 at 5:39 PM

gatorboy on April 2, 2009 at 5:34 PM

You can’t fix stupid!

PappaMac on April 2, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Does it always thin out like this during Glen Beck? Hmmmm

petunia on April 2, 2009 at 5:40 PM

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Joe Caps on April 2, 2009 at 5:43 PM

I’m just waiting until all of this comes back and kicks them square in the balls. I want a picture of the look on their faces.

Of course they’ll repeat the mantra “We inherited all of this”.

GarandFan on April 2, 2009 at 5:43 PM

… And this doesn’t even include what The Prompted One just promised to the world (out of our pockets) during His heralded and historic appearance this week before the G20, aka America Haters International.

We’re screwed!

TXUS on April 2, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Doogie Orszag, MD.

The patient has flat-lined.

He is worse than Baghdad Bob.

JAM on April 2, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Down the road, When the citizens of what used to be America get to string up the bastards that totally destroyed our wealth and our currency, annihilating both our security and our childrens’ future, this pathetic liar Orszag will be number one.

TexasJew on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

He does better in these clips:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/02/peter-orszag-does-the-dai_n_182178.html

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

Liberal leftists, and Marxist-Leninist can not do arithmetic. That is why they have such a poor record of ‘managing’ a national economy. It also explains why they are mystified when their maxed out credit cards are blocked.

Skandia Recluse on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

And under both budget resolutions, the deficit is reduced in half — by more than half by 2013,

Reducing it by half after quadrupling it between 2008 and 2009 means DOUBLING it from 2008 to 2013.

and actually then is either stable or declining between 2013 and 2014.

From the graph, the (negative) surplus is “declining” after 2013, therefore the debt is increasing. Was Orszag standing on his head while looking at the graph? Or is he trying to stand logic on its head?

Ed–you should send those graphs to the Republican leaders in Congress, and get them on C-SPAN. If enough sheeple saw those graphs, the Obama Spendorama wouldn’t get through the Senate.

Steve Z on April 2, 2009 at 5:46 PM

Great news:

WE’VE FOUND BAGHDAD BOB!!! All this time he was hiding in D.C.!

pookysgirl on April 2, 2009 at 5:47 PM

BTW, the AP says :

“Signs That The Recession Could Be Nearing A Bottom”

Bad news for cons.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:48 PM

He does better in these clips:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/02/peter-orszag-does-the-dai_n_182178.html

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

The numbers speak for themselves. I’d rather not waste my time.

Joe Caps on April 2, 2009 at 5:49 PM

I don’t know what spiraling debt you’re referring to,

Wow.

vcferlita on April 2, 2009 at 5:49 PM

JAM on April 2, 2009 at 5:44 PM

Awww….. You beat me to it!

pookysgirl on April 2, 2009 at 5:50 PM

Good thing this monster budget is going to pass tonight. /sarcasm

Trent1289 on April 2, 2009 at 5:51 PM

He does better in these clips:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/02/peter-orszag-does-the-dai_n_182178.html

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

How could he do any worse???

PappaMac on April 2, 2009 at 5:51 PM

They are debating the gop alternative budget in the House on C-Span.

Comedy gold.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:52 PM

And another thing. What’s up with that clown toupee? Did you lose a bet?

perroviejo on April 2, 2009 at 5:53 PM

Guess who cut the deficits by 2/3 between 2004 and 2007: George W. Bush. Anyone think he’ll get any credit from Obama and his inflationary fools?

Steve Z on April 2, 2009 at 5:53 PM

They are debating the gop alternative budget in the House on C-Span.

Comedy gold.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:52 PM

What is so funny?

Joe Caps on April 2, 2009 at 5:54 PM

So it’s OFFICIAL -

Idiots & Morons are in charge of the country.

The sooner they vanish the better.

I will have to hire my son’s sooner than I thought!!!!

izoneguy on April 2, 2009 at 5:55 PM

Congress looks like a daycare, where the care providers are way understaffed and the children are running amuck.

PappaMac on April 2, 2009 at 5:55 PM

They are debating the gop alternative budget in the House on C-Span.

Comedy gold.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:52 PM

So getalife??

Are you independently wealthy and don’t give a shit?

Or are you poor and really don’t give a shit?

izoneguy on April 2, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Mon Dieu. Baghdad Bob from the Ministry of Plenty

econavenger on April 2, 2009 at 5:57 PM

So getalife??

Are you independently wealthy and don’t give a shit?

Or are you poor and really don’t give a shit?

izoneguy on April 2, 2009 at 5:56 PM

Just a proud Independent supporting our President.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Down the road, When the citizens of what used to be America get to string up the bastards that totally destroyed our wealth and our currency, annihilating both our security and our childrens’ future, this pathetic liar Orszag will be number one.

TexasJew on April 2, 2009 at 5:45 PM

He may be, but it will be a target rich enviorment. Luckily, most of us can multitask.

a capella on April 2, 2009 at 6:06 PM

We need a better class of troll.

Vast-Right Wing Conspirator on April 2, 2009 at 6:13 PM

Awww….. You beat me to it!

pookysgirl on April 2, 2009 at 5:50 PM

No worries, mate. Denial is something many of here can spot in this insane administration.

JAM on April 2, 2009 at 6:15 PM

Just a proudly In depends ent and support hose ing our President.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM

thomasaur on April 2, 2009 at 6:17 PM

“What is this spiraling debt of which you speak?”

Seriously, how does this tool keep a job?

BuckeyeSam on April 2, 2009 at 6:20 PM

Well, no one outside of the Barack Obama Unicorn and Rainbows Admnistration, where the national debt apparently doesn’t exist.

Well, no one outside of the Barack Obama Unicorn, pixie dust and Rainbow Administration, where the national debt apparently doesn’t exist.

jcheney on April 2, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Mr. Orzsag. Look into my eyes! Are you in there???

capejasmine on April 2, 2009 at 6:46 PM

It’s like they are trying to pull off Jedi mind tricks but are forgetting to wave their hands in people’s faces.

They lie so effortlessly it’s scary.

Grafted on April 2, 2009 at 6:54 PM

Just a proud Independent supporting our President.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM

So after America has collapsed I can blame wanks like you.

Obama will go down as the worst evah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

izoneguy on April 2, 2009 at 7:01 PM

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Obama’s recession has no bottom.

Johan Klaus on April 2, 2009 at 7:38 PM

I hate to break it to people, but the CBO estimates are extremely rosy, too. LSD-type rosy, and reality will be a very bad trip.

progressoverpeace on April 2, 2009 at 7:53 PM

Ed, I’m glad you included that chart. It’s exactly what I was thinking about as I began reading.
.
Compare the “area under the curve” or the cumulative deficits for the nine year periods 2000 thru 2008 vs. 2009 thru 2017.
.
Obama’s FIRST YEAR deficit exceeds the cumulative total of the previous 9 years! The nine year total starting in 2009 is at least 5 times greater than the previous 9 years.
.
When the Obama team claims that they will be cutting the deficit in half during their administration, it is with respect to this first year’s ENORMOUS increase, not the Bush years.
.
What a bunch of crap. They seem to be counting on the ignorance and /or apathy of the public & press not to question this. How arrogant is that??!! Sheesh.

dont taze me bro on April 2, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Recession isn’t finished until we get two quarters of economic growth so don’t start screaming it’s over just yet, getaclue!

larvcom on April 2, 2009 at 8:06 PM

thomasaur on April 2, 2009 at 6:17 PM

If the NYT had editors like you they’d be rolling in dough. :)

Patrick S on April 2, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Democrats: THE Party of Spiraling Debt. Spend-O-Nomics.

Invest is code for SPEND…

TN Mom on April 2, 2009 at 8:38 PM

It took 25 years longer than Orwell predicted.

notagool on April 2, 2009 at 8:44 PM

If you fold Orszag in thirds, he turns into a crap sandwich.

Wingo on April 2, 2009 at 9:44 PM

I’d love to see the pie chart that shows Entitlements and Debt Service in those out years.

rhodeymark on April 2, 2009 at 9:54 PM

So, when the public finally realizes what a bunch of damned liars this crew is will they eject them?

Probably not. They’ll just fall for more promises and assertions that Bush’s jump from around 200 billion to over 400 billion magically transformed itself into Obama’s mega trillion budget and mega mega trillion deficit.

Ten years from now this stupid sack of pus us still going to be blaming Bush, even though the last 2 years were the house and senate’s deficit, not his really.

Lets not forget Frank & Dodd either, they had nothing to do with this deficit and recession did they…

But lets also not let Bush off the hook. Ever since 2002 he’s been signing EVERY spending bill that crossed his desk in exchange for ‘not so much opposition’ to the financial aspect of the war. What a trade off, send our country to hell in exchange for finishing what daddy started.

Thanks a wad, George. And screw off, liberal socialist fascist pigs.

Spiritk9 on April 3, 2009 at 2:04 AM

Similarly, George Custer looked around him and said, “Indians, what Indians?”

Otis B on April 3, 2009 at 4:59 AM

getalife=comedy gold

becki51758 on April 3, 2009 at 7:31 AM

Just a proud Independent supporting our President.

getalife on April 2, 2009 at 5:58 PM

He’s so far to the left that even the communists won’t take him.

MarkTheGreat on April 3, 2009 at 8:15 AM

Well, no one outside of the Barack Obama Unicorn and Rainbows Admnistration, where the national debt apparently doesn’t exist.
Ed.

Hammer meets nail.
That’s his strategy for dealing with the national debt. Gloss over it, downplay it, ignore it. Whatever it takes to pull the old Obama sleight-of-hand.
Master magician and illusionist as work here.

SKYFOX on April 3, 2009 at 9:28 AM

The graphic is from the Washington Post, not Heritage. They felt the need to mention:

“UPDATE: Many Obama defenders in the comments are claiming that the numbers above do not include spending on Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years. They most certainly do. While Bush did fund the wars through emergency supplementals (not the regular budget process), that spending did not simply vanish. It is included in the numbers above. Also, some Obama defenders are claiming the graphic above represents biased Heritage Foundation numbers. While we stand behind the numbers we put out 100%, the numbers, and the graphic itself, above are from the Washington Post. We originally left out the link to WaPo. It has been now been added.”

Ejasz on April 3, 2009 at 10:46 AM