Obama hiding the budget numbers until August recess

posted at 10:11 am on July 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has insisted on getting a health-care bill passed before the August recess, despite the complex issues involved and the massive amounts of spending it will require.  Why the rush?  Polling numbers explain part of it, of course, but the AP’s report on a delay in announcing budget numbers may hold the key:

The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today’s bleak landscape.

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 Congress.

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 on its August 7 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.

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.

Update: Yid with Lid concurs.

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