Monday, July 20, 2009

Hiding the Budget Numbers for Awhile

So much for budget transparency.
WASHINGTON – 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 Aug. 7 on its 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.
There are even rumors today that the White House will block the release of unemployment numbers so as not to "confuse" lawmakers who might otherwise be reluctant to take on trillions in new debt and higher taxes for Americans.

Even the normally enthusiastic WaPo notices the chill in the air for Obama's economic policies:
A Washington Post-ABC News survey released Monday shows approval of Obama's handling of health-care reform slipping below 50 percent for the first time. The poll also found support eroding on how Obama is dealing with other issues that are important to Americans right now — the economy, unemployment and the swelling budget deficit.

The Democratic-controlled Congress is reeling from last week's testimony by the head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Douglas Elmendorf, that the main health care proposals Congress is considering would not reduce costs — as Obama has insisted — but "significantly expand" the federal financial responsibility for health care.
I don't think hiding the numbers for another month or so is going to be a successful strategy for the Obama White House, but then he's managed to hoodwink the majority of Americans so far.

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