The two-trillion-dollar mistake, Take 2

posted at 1:45 pm on March 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Christine Romer and Peter Orszag have been gone for months, but in some ways it’s as if they never left … especially in math.  For the second time in eighteen months, the Obama administration has been caught making a $2-trillion error in its deficit projections, this time attached to its latest budget proposal.  The CBO yesterday released a report showing that the White House far overstated economic growth and blew the whistle yet again on ObamaCare projections:

The difference is chiefly because CBO has a less optimistic estimate of how much the government will collect in tax revenues, partly because the administration has rosier economic projections.

But the agency also rejects the administration’s claims of more than $300 billion of that savings — to pay for preventing a cut in Medicare payments to doctors — because it doesn’t specify where it would come from. Likewise, CBO fails to credit the White House with an additional $328 billion that would come from unspecified “bipartisan financing” to pay for transportation infrastructure projects such as high speed rail lines and road and bridge construction.

Friday’s report actually predicts the deficit for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, won’t be as bad as the $1.6 trillion predicted by the administration and will instead register $200 billion less. But 10 years from now, CBO sees a $1.2 trillion deficit that’s almost $400 billion above White House projections.

The administration’s nominee for deputy director of its budget office, Heather Higginbottom, tried defending the White House budget even with these projections and ended up admitting that the White House notion that their budget “stabilizes” deficits was false after a classic cross-examination from Senator Jeff Sessions.  If she has to return to the Senate to defend the budget again, Jacob Lew will probably need to look for a new deputy.

The findings in this puncture two myths perpetrated by Barack Obama.  First, ObamaCare is not “deficit neutral” in the first ten years, let alone constitutes a savings over the decade.  That was true even before the “doctor fix,” but the suspension of reductions in payments that came later sends ObamaCare well into red ink.  Next, the White House is inflating future revenue projections in order to protect its plans for expanded federal spending.  The difference in this case comes to $400 billion in year 10 of the projections, a difference that almost equals the worst total budget deficit under George W. Bush.

The first $2 trillion math error in the summer of 2009 was extraordinary enough.  No administration in my recollection has ever had to issue a $2 trillion correction to its fiscal projections, and that should have resulted in resignations at the time from Obama’s economic team.  A second such “error” in less than two years either indicates extraordinary incompetence, or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

Rovin has more thoughts on Obama’s “fuzzy math” in our Green Room.


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Math is hard…

JohnGalt23 on March 19, 2011 at 1:52 PM

A second such “error” in less than two years either indicates extraordinary incompetence, or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

OR?

I vote it’s both. They are incompetent and liars.

rbj on March 19, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Repeal Obamacare.

Bruce MacMahon on March 19, 2011 at 1:59 PM

The destruction of America proceeds apace.

sandspur on March 19, 2011 at 1:59 PM

They’re just trying to help…

Akzed on March 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Rounding error.

a capella on March 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Deliberate? Of course it’s deliberate. Even the MSNBC report glosses over the most egregious areas and downplays the error. “The CBO fails to credit the White House”? Seriously? That’s how they report this? Why didn’t they just say “the mean ole CBO is bullying the wonderful people within our super-terrific President’s OMB into telling the American people things they have no interest, or need, in knowing.”

And that’s why they do it; they know they have a very short period where they’ll need to defend their “mistake” before the media moves on to important things like trying to convince Rio to give the Olympics back to Chicago. Nothing to see here, people. Move along now.

BKeyser on March 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Oh, like the general public will ever hear about this. Are you kidding? That would require reporting, which is almost as hard as math apparently.

txmomof6 on March 19, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I suggest from now on when we write about trillions that we used numbers not letters. Two trillion should be seen as: $2,000,000,000,000.

CWforFreedom on March 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Lies.

Mason on March 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

1.4 trillion dollar deficit = 1400 Billion
Dems propose cutting 10 Billion from 1400 billion.

Repugnantcans propose cutting 100 60 billion out of 1400 billion!

We are being sold into slavery to big govt and the takers and slackers of society by both partys.

Tea Party, Sarah, there’s a lot of efn work to do and very little time to do it!

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Someone needs to find a way to prove that the Cloward-Piven strategy IS NOT being implemented. All available evidence so far supports that it is.

Mord on March 19, 2011 at 2:14 PM

1,400,000,000,000.
-60,000,000,000.
1,340,000,000,000.

60/1400

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 2:16 PM

A second such “error” in less than two years either indicates extraordinary incompetence, or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

I don’t know about the rest of you…

… but I think Obowma has used up all of his ‘White Guilt’ by now.

Time to impeach this ‘thing‘ for incompetence or treason…

… take your pick.

Seven Percent Solution on March 19, 2011 at 2:22 PM

This budget is shovel-ready.

parteagirl on March 19, 2011 at 2:23 PM

O/T..sorry but too funny not to share right away:
http://dailycaller.com/2011/03/19/amtrak-ceo-ditches-broken-train-to-travel-by-car-to-ribbon-cutting-of-wilmingtons-joe-biden-station/

CEO of Amtrak delayed to Bidens christening, the train he was on BROKE DOWN

Tim Zank on March 19, 2011 at 2:25 PM

dhunter- nice

—-

How much is $1,000,000,000,000?

http://www.therightscoop.com/how-much-is-a-trillion-dollars-really/

CWforFreedom on March 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM

So I’m reading the news that Qaddafi is claiming “no new bombardments” while his troops are still shooting at Libyan citizens. And I’m reading this sort of shocking admission by the NYT/Obama propaganda machine that Obama is a liar and an idiot. And I’m thinking that even a nutcase like Qaddafi can clearly see that if you have a House Organ Press like Obama does, you can lie about anything and a large percentage of your citizens will believe it.

Just like in the U.S.

Jaibones on March 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM

…or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

I’m donning my conspiracy chapeau for this – that’s what I suspect, and have done, for about a month now – B Hussein’s apparant lack of care re world events and his propensity for unions, meddling in state politics, backdoor run on gun control and and inordinate number of 18 holes – well, quite frankly, I’m begining to suspect a deliberate attempt to bring about the demise of the once-great US of A.

And, it’s really begining to worry me. . . .

karra on March 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM

There was no “error” in the math. None.

What the Obama Administration is doing has little to do with math or estimates. What the intent appears is that the Obama Administration is hoping that most Americans eyes will glaze over when these astronomical sums are mentioned. And they will no longer be willing nor able to pay attention.

They are glazing over, believe me. And I doubt that many Americans at all are paying even the most basic attention.

In order to accomplish what the Administration intends, the White House (with the willing collusion of the Dems, must first make the federal budget so overblown that at some point they will be forced to revalue currency and using that old “too big to fail” meme once again they will make it so that all Americans will be devoting most of their incomes and that of their children and grand kids to bail out government….just so the goodies can continue to the “workers” and government control over the lives of nearly all Americans becomes a government fait accompli.

I am convinced this is not incompetence but a carefully crafted plan.

Prove me wrong.

coldwarrior on March 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

When dealing with numbers this big, fudging a few zero’s isnt really a big deal. The important thing that appears to be getting lost in all this is the incredible pressure the President is under trying to deal with the inherited deficit and collapsing economy from his predecesor. The focus really needs to be drawn back to the fact that this is all really Bush’s fault.

Koa on March 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

My personal experience, having been incompetent myself in a number of endeavors, is that the law of chance works in favor of the incompetent sometimes.

In other words, if it was mere incompetence, then at least occasionally øbama would do something good for America or citizens.

What I see is that very rarely ø will do something that might look good, optics only, and that is on purpose, not from incompetence.

Which supports malice, to me. Not that it makes much difference now.

jodetoad on March 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

I noticed the the HA post said something about feeling sorry for Heather.

I looked up Heath H in wikipedia. She’s quite the “wonk”, very bright, you see, very committed, and, yes, idealist. She’s worked with Kerry/Edwards…and Obama/Biden and has been around for a while

these people have spent the last three years telling us what great wonks they are. the press loves the wonks.

Heather is a policy wonk trying to make people’s lives better. there is no reason to feel sorry for her, she is part of the team and has been for a long time. Here’s a puff piece on her from U of Rochester:

http://www.rochester.edu/pr/Review/V71N3/feature2.html

These people are highly political, highly ideological…they don’t admit to being incompetent…and I take them at their word.

r keller on March 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Hey, look over there! The Republicans are trying to take away collective bargaining! Nothing to see here, over there where those mean Republicans are picking on the poor workers, that’s where it’s all happening!

Eren on March 19, 2011 at 2:46 PM

O/T: I just want to be loved, is that too much to ask?: Rubber Bullets Fly at Anti-Obama Protest In Rio

Maybe now we know why he decided not to speak in Rio’s public square.

slickwillie2001 on March 19, 2011 at 2:54 PM

For the second time in eighteen months, the Obama administration has been caught making a $2-trillion error in its deficit projections,


Good thing the “adults” are in charge…

……….”smartest people in the room”

What a pathetic joke liberals are.

Baxter Greene on March 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

A second such “error” in less than two years either indicates extraordinary incompetence, or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

Yeah. They got away with it last time and they’ll continue to do it because on one in the media is screaming about it and working up the masses.

Obama and his administration have no problems blatantly lying to the American people because they have the mainstream media covering for them.

They know they can get away with it.

ButterflyDragon on March 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

The focus really needs to be drawn back to the fact that this is all really Bush’s fault.

Koa on March 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

You can only inherit a deficit once. And that would be the first year in office. After that first year, any further deficits are fully owned by the current resident in the White House. (Actually Congress, but the President has to sign the damn thing)

ButterflyDragon on March 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

You can only inherit a deficit once. And that would be the first year in office. After that first year, any further deficits are fully owned by the current resident in the White House. (Actually Congress, but the President has to sign the damn thing)

ButterflyDragon on March 19, 2011 at 3:06 PM

You are obviosly a little closed minded and appear to be getting bogged down with facts and such. Open your mind a little and ignore the fact that Democrats have been submitting the budget for the last 5 years.

Koa on March 19, 2011 at 3:17 PM

the real issue is that most Dims are of the Michael Moore philosophy…that everything is ok, there is plenty of wealth out there.

And, of course, he’s right. There is plenty of private wealth to solve the budget problems. And no doubt most leftists seriously don’t understand the problem with Moore’s solution.

Cuba and the Soviets et al. are not robust economies. Nationalizing wealth for the good of the “people” doesn’t work. Leftists don’t understand that. Regrettably the ideology of the left penetrates deeply into the American system (WI, Schumer, Durbin, et al.). So these “mistakes” are indeed just rounding errors. If the wealth all belong to the state, well, a few T here or there is not a biggie. Remember…the US should produce about 140T over the next 10 years

r keller on March 19, 2011 at 3:18 PM

I am convinced this is not incompetence but a carefully crafted plan.

Prove me wrong.

coldwarrior on March 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Yep, malicious destroyers, for their own power over the moochers and other sheep.

Schadenfreude on March 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

or something more deliberate in action at the White House.

Actions, not words.

JavelinaBomb on March 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Time to impeach this ‘thing‘ for incompetence or treason…

… take your pick.

Seven Percent Solution on March 19, 2011 at 2:22 PM

AND WHO THE HELL IS GONNA DO THAT?

THE COWARDLY WHIMPS THAT WILL NOT CUT MORE THAN 60 OF 1400 BILLION?

THE COWARDLY WHIMPS THAT WILL NOT RISK A GOV’T SHUTDOWN OVER THE UNFUNDING OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL THEY WERE SENT THERE TO UNFUND?

IS THIS COWARDESS OR COMPLICITY?

IMPEACH OR RECALL EVERY CONGRESS AZZ OR SENATE SCUM THAT HAS BEEN THERE MORE THAN TWO TERMS!

WERE SCREWED! SOLD DOWN THE RIVER BY THE VERY SCUM WE ELECTED AND TRUSTED!

loud enough for ya to hear me?

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

SWINDLERS is as good a term as any

golfmann on March 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I am convinced this is not incompetence but a carefully crafted plan.

Prove me wrong.

coldwarrior on March 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

You’re damn right it’s deliberate CW. This administration thinks we’re all stupid drones—an easy assumption when the LSM actually are.

Rovin on March 19, 2011 at 3:46 PM

The CBO has gone to speaking Obamanese and it just doesn’t make sense.

Mojave Mark on March 19, 2011 at 3:48 PM

See… in China no one would have double checked Barry’s words against the math…
-

RalphyBoy on March 19, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Good thing whats happening in Lybia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran cannot happen here!

Here we will be told by our Pesstitutes, and Demorats how wonderful OBlahBlah is while he:

nationaizes Companies,

pays off his union friends with taxpayer confiscated funds,

encourages civility while his union friends issue death threats upon duly elected representatives doing the jobs they were elected to do,

runs up unsustainable debt,

disses our allies and coddles the above regimes,

destroys an entire healthcare system that WAS the greatest in the world,

institutes a corporatists govt that rewards its big business friends and destroys their enemies with regulation strangulation,

sues Staes for daring protect their borders from law breakers and terrorist intruders,

and comes for the guns of law abiding citizens right before he confiscates their 401 ks and IRAs!

Someday we will find that like Lybia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran that when what happened there, happens here, there was no-one not even the USA to defend the people from their government!

dhunter on March 19, 2011 at 4:00 PM

$5 says his bracket picks have gotten more airtime on the news.

rogerb on March 19, 2011 at 4:01 PM

rogerb on March 19, 2011 at 4:01 PM

agree with you there…

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 4:07 PM

ButterflyDragon on March 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

nuff said…

they’ve got to prop this fool up til nov 2012…

cmsinaz on March 19, 2011 at 4:09 PM

To paraphrase the late GOP Senate Leader Everett Dirksen: “A million trillion here, a million trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

bw222 on March 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Budget stuff isn’t math, it’s only arithmetic.

And they can’t even do that.

MaggiePoo on March 19, 2011 at 5:12 PM

The CBO probably isn’t counting the projected revenues from all 57 states . . . that’s where the discrepancy lies . . .

tpitman on March 19, 2011 at 5:26 PM

The administration tells us to get used to the new normal of make do with less a lot less and then turn around and project the opposite to support their take over of another giant chunk of our private enterprise?

What do we call that besides liar liar pants on fire?
Its just another average day in liberalville.
Theft the other left meat.

Speakup on March 19, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Who cares. He can print all the extra money he needs.

roasted7 on March 19, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Chilling.

Key West Reader on March 19, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu uh huh hu huh 90120?

yubley on March 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

The simple truth is that Mr. Obama, as well as virtually everyone else in his administration, has never told the truth about any substantive issue. Why is anyone surprised that they lie now? Well, perhaps no one is surprised, but the LSM regurgitates the statements of the administration as though they were well-trained parrots.

Henry Bowman on March 19, 2011 at 6:56 PM

The first $2 trillion math error in the summer of 2009 was extraordinary enough. No administration in my recollection has ever had to issue a $2 trillion correction to its fiscal projections

Will make a nice plaque hanging in the Obama Presidential Library.

Great post, Ed!

TN Mom on March 19, 2011 at 7:30 PM

No worries under the current administration; they figure as long as they’ve got access to blank checks, everything is good.

GarandFan on March 19, 2011 at 7:38 PM

But he’ll still go around telling that lie anyway and a lot of the press will repeat it as fact.

flataffect on March 19, 2011 at 8:13 PM

I do not know who the CBO works for. At one time it was known as the congressional budget office. If it is an arm of the congress, congress should initiate changes in its operation. If it is an arm of the executive branch, it would need a new, honest president involved to make the changes. In either case, changes are needed. I suggest that dual analyses using either the new or the old methods be used on the last five years and the next five years after which the old rules would be dropped. This is necessary because the majority of voters, even those with graduate degrees, do no understand that entitlements are the the biggest part of the national debt.
These changes are the following.
1)Analyses shall be made using dynamic analysis.
2)All debts and expenditures shall be included in budgets.
3)Realistic exspectations of income and expenditures shall be used.
These rules must be accompanied with guidance about how to achieve the desired results. The guidance is the difficult part, e.g. what is a realistic expectation of income. If better guidance is not available, it could be based on historical data.

burt on March 19, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Last GOP budget was 2007: 160 billion.
Last Dem budget was 1.7 TRILLION , or 10 times as much.

What did he ‘inherit’ again?

DavidM on March 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Dear Ed,

Why do you have such trouble realizing that, to a hard Leftist, the ends justify the means? Accept that, and everything is explained.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on March 19, 2011 at 9:43 PM

As they say, valor and honor is most often won in a battle that is already hopelessly lost. Afterall, there is nothing valiant in vanquishing a weak and prostrate foe who never had a chance.

And that, my dear fellow stawart conservatives is wher we find ourselves now, the jig is up. Obama and he cohort of neo-communists have already accomplished their nefarious Cloward/Pivenesque deed and imploded the first and last bastion of capitalism on earth, the US.

The progressives over the last 40yrs have already spent/committed so much of our future revenues that there is no turning back, Team Obama has merely hammered home the last nail in the the coffin, granted they did so with a railroad spike, none-the-less, the lid is fastened shut and the only sound left is the hollow noise of the earth filling the cavity above.

Veronica De Rugy over at NRO has painted the the morbidly grim picture with her latest titled..”The Debt Trap”,…

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/261596/no-way-out-debt-trap-veronique-de-rugy

…and the quasi-clairvoyant prognosticator(Stansberry Reasearch), who by name, called the ball on Fannie, Freddie, Lehman and the whole rest of the sordid lot, makes it uncomfortably clear that age of the dollar as the medium of exchange(and all the bene’s gleaned there from)are already a footnote in history, our trading partners just havent’ footnoted the bibliography yet.

http://www.stansberryresearch.com/pro/1011PSISBBVD/PPSIM277/PR

Now miracles can happen(US vs Nippon and the Battle of Midway)and the tenacity of the traditional American “rugged individualism”, see Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge, but that was The Greatest Generation, what we have no is The Worst Generation… the Boomers. So, the odds are not in our favour, maybe 15/85 against, and that’s being generous.

It is my sincerest hope to be able to deal with the likes of the HotHeads in this forum in the post Pax-Americana most likely to follow. If our path’s’s do cross, it’ll be down the road less trvelled for I’ve done Gone Galt already in a BIG way off in the hinterlands.

Archimedes on March 19, 2011 at 9:44 PM

Picky, picky, picky…you are going to worry about a couple of trillion bucks?

right2bright on March 20, 2011 at 12:48 AM

Nice piece Ed, and real glad to see you link to Rovin’s piece in the GR… Lot’s of good work taking place in the GR!

Keemo on March 20, 2011 at 7:50 AM

I suggest from now on when we write about trillions that we used numbers not letters. Two trillion should be seen as: $2,000,000,000,000.

CWforFreedom on March 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

We might as well add the zeroes: $2,000,000,000,000.00. The good news is that our Spectator in Chief is doing well in his brackets. Seriously, how much freaking time does he spend watching TV on our dime?

Scott P on March 20, 2011 at 7:56 AM

Maybe if the budget was translated in to “Austrian”, it might make more sense.

skeneogden on March 20, 2011 at 11:25 AM

To most people myself included the CBO seems in contradiction with itself. Defund Obamacare? It depends on who ask the question. When the left asks the question it would cost 200 billion dollars. When the right asks the question it would save 700 billion. Can anyone explain how this 900 billion dollar variance is possible.

TomLawler on March 20, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Kind of blows a hole in the case for experts.

MarkT on March 20, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Two Trillion.
Hunh.
Hardly worth mentioning.

TimBuk3 on March 20, 2011 at 10:32 PM

The two-trillion-dollar mistake

We now have a phrase which succinctly describes the Obama presidency.

landlines on March 21, 2011 at 2:04 AM