Video: Sessions plays Stump the OMB Director by asking … about deficits

posted at 9:21 am on April 12, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Via Instapundit and the Washington Examiner, here’s another keepsake from the Barack Obama administration’s economic advisers.  Remember when Paul Ryan goaded then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner into admitting that the White House had no plan to deal with mounting national debt?  Yesterday, Senator Jeff Sessions got OMB Director Jeff Zients to admit that he didn’t know the dollar figure of the added deficits in the Obama budget projection he was defending.

In his defense, Zients tells Sessions, “There are a lot of numbers there.” Well, yeah — it’s a budget, isn’t it?

“Your budget increases the deficit by $8.2 trillion over ten years, yes or no?” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., asked Zients during a hearing.

“I need to check the numbers,” Zients said. “There are a lot of numbers there. What I can tell you is we should focus on — this is exactly what Bowles-Simpson does and other groups. What is the deficit as a percent of our economy? We are less than 2 percent at the end of the window, at 1.7 percent.”

Sessions pointed out that the Obama budget would raise taxes by $1 trillion and increase spending “by almost that same amount, virtually having no deficit reduction.”

This is on par with Obama’s claim that the budget addresses deficit reduction while proposing to spend more than any other budget in American history.  It’s 36.5% higher than the FY2007 budget, the last one to pass in a Republican Congress with a Republican President’s signature.  It’s 22% higher than the Democratic budget that passed for FY2008.  According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP has only grown 11.8% since 2007, and 9.7% since 2008 (when the Great Recession started).  The Obama budget increases have far outstripped economic growth, even without recalculating for inflation.

Is it too much to ask that a budget director know the numbers in his own budget, and to stop using GDP gobbledygook as a cover for enormous spending deficits?  Apparently so in this administration.

This reminds me of an MTV bedtime story …

Note: In order to get the joke, you need to know the original name of the song.


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unlike you, I don’t begrudge the President the perks of his office. Isn’t that quite marxist of you to envy his success?

nonpartisan on April 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

You do understand that “Public Servant” does not mean the public is your servant don’t you?

KW64 on April 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

unlike you, I don’t begrudge the President the perks of his office. Isn’t that quite marxist of you to envy his success?

nonpartisan on April 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Not when we’re paying for them.

Resist We Much on April 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

unlike you, I don’t begrudge the President the perks of his office. Isn’t that quite marxist of you to envy his success?

nonpartisan on April 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Not when we’re paying for them.

Resist We Much on April 12, 2013 at 11:52 AM

partisan is a douchebag lib and obambi fluffer. I don’t know why anyone (other than the other trolls) even engages him here. It’s a waste of time and energy.

VegasRick on April 12, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past. Even with sequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

PUHLEASE. Further increasing tax rates when countries with expanding economies will NOT lead to higher revenue.

Washington Post:

But here’s the important point: the Clinton plan was never intended to achieve a balanced budget. After the bill’s passage, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the deficit would decline modestly — from $290 billion in 1992 to $200 billion in 1998. In the phrase of the era, there were still “deficits as far as the eye could see.”

Indeed, the Clinton budget plan was actually slightly smaller, on an inflation-adjusted basis, than the deficit-reduction package signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush ($770 billion versus $830 billion). Many Republicans also opposed that deal — which Boxer supported — because it included higher taxes.

Fast forward to 1995. The Democrats lost control of the House and the Senate, largely because of bruising budget battle. Clinton’s fiscal year 1996 budget again proposes $200 billion deficits every year for the next five years. So, again, the target in 1998 (when surpluses later emerged) was a deficit of $196 billion.

But Republicans immediately set the goal of achieving a balanced budget within seven years. After resisting for a few months, Clinton shocked many fellow Democrats by announcing that he, too, would embrace the idea of a balanced budget.

As The Washington Post editorial page put it at the time, Republicans had forced Clinton’s hand: “Mr. Clinton’s new position on the budget is much better than the old one. He should have taken it six months ago. The Republicans have driven him to say that he too wants, if not to balance the budget, at least to get the deficit into the neutral zone.”

But even Linden’s argument about 1998 is one-sided. He ignores the substantial shift in the policy debate in Washington that occurred because of the GOP takeover of Congress. He also glosses over the fact that the government ended up with a gusher of revenue that had little to do with Clinton’s 1993 budget deal: capital-gains taxes from the run-up in the stock market, as well as taxes paid on stock options earned by technology executives.

Clinton, in essence, was lucky to become president just as a revolution in computer and information technologies was unleashed.

From 1992 to 1997, CBO estimated, revenue increased at an annual average of 7.7 percent in nominal terms, or about 2.4 percentage points faster than the growth of the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy. CBO Deputy Director James L. Blum in 1998 attributed only 1 percentage point of that extra tax revenue to the 1993 budget deal. The rest, he said, came from capital gains.

Between 1994 and 1999, realized capital gains nearly quadrupled, the CBO concluded, with taxes on those gains accounting for about 30 percent of the increased growth of individual income tax liabilities relative to the growth of GDP.

Resist We Much on April 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

unlike you, I don’t begrudge the President the perks of his office. Isn’t that quite marxist of you to envy his success?

nonpartisan on April 12, 2013 at 10:07 AM

Success?!? Unemployment barely under 8%, (and only that low because so many people have stopped looking for jobs); debt has doubled; growth that is just barely positive; a laundry list of “investments” in green projects that have gone belly up; submitted budgets rejected resoundingly in overwhelmingly bi-partisan votes in Congress; and a job and economy killing healthcare millstone hung around the necks of employers!

Success he says!
I would welcome the opportunity to envy his success. Wake me when he has some.

questionmark on April 12, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past. Evenwithsequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Nevermind that said revenue is record setting.

Spliff Menendez on April 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

THE ADULTS! They are in CHARGE!

29Victor on April 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

I agree with bayam… bring back Reagan’s tax rates!

dominigan on April 12, 2013 at 1:36 PM

yeah, but bush also wasnt president of harvard law review or a constitutional law professor at a top law school, now was he?

nonpartisan on April 12, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Let’s review the facts….

BO became president of the Harvard Law Review the year they decided to ignore the scholarly work of the candidate and instead focus on the color of the guys skin. BO never was a professor. Why do liberals lie 24/7?

David in ATL on April 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past. Evenwithsequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

I’ll bet you’re one of those geniuses who tries to tell their boss they need a pay raise because “my income is below my spending”.

dentarthurdent on April 12, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past. Evenwithsequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

This nicely illustrates the failure of government run schools and liberal parents in educating kids about budgeting basics. You’ve got this backwards. It should be-spending (outlays) far exceeds taxes (revenue).

What exactly happens with your home budget? Do you decide that you want a new car, bigger appartment, and yearly vacations and then go to your boss and demand a 20% raise to cover what you think you deserve? Plus add an addition $50 a week so you can help support the guy down the block who doesn’t want to work? Or do you look at your paycheck and decide how much of that can be spent on what size appartment; how much on a car; how much on food?

Everything I’ve read shows revenue remaining relatively stable and spending going through the roof.

hopeful on April 12, 2013 at 4:15 PM

BO never was a professor. Why do liberals lie 24/7?

David in ATL on April 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

That one just won’t die, will it? He was a lecturer.

While many students refer to all of their teachers and lecturers as “Professor,” it doesn’t make it true…

Sockpuppet Politic on April 12, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Evenwithsequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

brayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

the Treasury projected business and individual collections at $2.71 trillion for this year — higher than the previous high $2.5 trillion collected in 2007.

Record revenue this year.

Del Dolemonte on April 12, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Couldn’t help but noticing some posters here are parroting mistruths about Obama and HLS. A few notes:

1) Obama graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude. Under today’s grading policy, that would put him in the top 10% of his class after summa grads (of which there usually are none). I’m not sure of the policy back then but he must have been at least top quarter.

2) the Harvard Law Review is an elite academic journal, not a school newspaper. Accordingly, its President need not (and usually does not) publish anything. At any rate, as others have pointed out, Obama did publish a note as a 2L.

3) Obama was considered a professor at the University of Chicago; indeed; the school has said as much.

None of this is particularly important. But it’s correct.

righty45 on April 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Video: Sessions plays Stump the OMB Director by asking … about deficits

…this bozo would be stumped by the question: “Please state your name.” (In other words, he’s as incompetent and retarded as every other person in the OBOZO regime.)

TeaPartyNation on April 12, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Until tax rates returns to pre-Bush levels, this country’s fiscal policy remains permanently stuck in the past. Even with sequester spending cuts, revenue remains far below outlays.

bayam on April 12, 2013 at 9:35 AM

Isn’t it funny how the Bush tax rates seemed to work well under the Bush administration … until the Democrats took control of Congress…..

But somehow, after 2 years of Democratic Congress under Bush, 2 years of a Democratic Congress under Obama, and 2 years of a Democratic Senate and a Republican House under Obama, it’s still all Bush’s fault….

Well, I’m sure that’s all just coincidental.

Circling The Drain on April 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Senator Jeff Sessions – my hero on budget and illegal immigration.

In 2007, after McCain-Kennedy was defeated TWICE by opposition led by Sessions, my friends and I had a beer party to celebrate (in NH) and called his AL office to thank him for his efforts.

He is making all the same good speeches this time and I call his office weekly to thank him (I do not live in AL, but I’m thinking about it)

Too bad all GOP senators don’t have his common sense.

fred5678 on April 12, 2013 at 7:10 PM

1) Obama graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude. Under today’s grading policy, that would put him in the top 10% of his class after summa grads (of which there usually are none). I’m not sure of the policy back then but he must have been at least top quarter.

2) the Harvard Law Review is an elite academic journal, not a school newspaper. Accordingly, its President need not (and usually does not) publish anything. At any rate, as others have pointed out, Obama did publish a note as a 2L.

3) Obama was considered a professor at the University of Chicago; indeed; the school has said as much.

None of this is particularly important. But it’s correct.

righty45 on April 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

prove 1) is true – given he won’t allow his school records to be released. People lie all the time on resumes about their school records if they think they can get away with it.
2) and a very political and PC organization at that – so they appoint an affirmative action Pres who is unable to write anything worth publishing – still got nothin.
3) “was CONSIDERED a professor”. Get real – either he was or he wasn’t. Again – I’ve seen people claim on resumes to have been a professor or instructor or whatever else when in fact they were nothing more than a grad student filling in for an actual professor who didn’t want to be bothered with actually teaching classes.

dentarthurdent on April 12, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Zients is what’s wrong with our government…

d1carter on April 12, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Yes. Too many finely-coiffed shysters, full of bluster and hubris without expertise or substance.

Sessions is doing a great job, but as a group, Republicans seem unable to unmask these pretenders.

virgo on April 13, 2013 at 2:51 PM

I hope they all burn in hell.

F_This on April 14, 2013 at 9:01 PM

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