No Fudging In Administration Budget, Other than Everything, That Is

By Randy Foreman, White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON – (NewsBlaze) – On the cover of the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget is a picture of Mount Denali of all things!

It was presented to the press last Tuesday Afternoon in the South Court Auditorium in the Old Executive Office building.

Yet it may be an appropriate choice because in the last year, the administration decided to change the name of Mount McKinley to Denali, even though it had been known as McKinley for decades. Just like the name change of North America’s Highest Point by the 44th president, so they have decided to engage in creative accounting with their fiscal plans.

However, the White House insists in the final year of Obama’s Presidency, when talking about their fiscal plans, “that’s this detailed, there’s no fudging.” So said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. The reality is the administration put more fudge in their budget than is contained in R. Kelly’s Chocolate Factory album.

us budget cover
U.S. Budget 2017 Cover Denali or Denial?

Those tall tales were evident in the Office Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan’s opening statement “we’ve turned our economy around and created more than 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below 5 percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And we’ve dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters, and set our nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.”

“Sustainable fiscal path?” Mr. Donovan must be enjoying $100 a plate meals at Rose’s Luxury Restaurant in Washington these days while school kids in Peoria are feasting on bare bones Michelle Obama school lunches.

How in the world is he saying that, when the National debt has hit 19 trillion dollars? Some observers say the debt isn’t moving because of some creative accounting introduced last year.

14 million new jobs? Whether you accept David Stockman’s 42.9% real unemployment rate or realize that 93 million people have dropped out of the labor force during the Obama years, that U3 rate of unemployment of 5% did nothing to deter The Donald’s voters from coming out in full force later on that evening in the Granite State.

As their presentation moved on, while Mr. Donovan was manipulating recent history, Jason Furman, the head White House economic adviser, was tasked with presenting a panglossian economic outlook. Mr Furman only out-rivals Ernest Moniz the Energy Secretary at the Obama White House, for his work on the Iran Nuclear Deal for the most like the rose colored philosopher featured in Candide by a nose, but not by much.

Furman posited with numbers they believed were “more conservative” than the Congressional Budget Office, that the economy will grow at 2.5% over the next three years. And then, somehow, in 2019, following policies that Furman was piloting the economy into “significant global headwinds,” we would be at 2.3% growth rate.

Arthur Laffer could produce better numbers than that on a napkin during the years of Ronaldus Magnus, and he did. During the Reagan era, GDP growth was at 3.5% and 4.9% after the Carter recession.

The other two speakers went into the administration’s spending and taxing priorities such as more money for cybersecurity, a $10 per barrel tax on oil, a 1.6 percent raise for federal employees but what is at the heart of this Rube Goldberg shell game?

Again we heard from Mr. Donovan. “Since the President came into office, we’ve had deficit reduction of about $4.5 trillion. This budget adds additional $2.9 trillion of deficit reduction. If you put those all together, we’re still getting more than 50 percent. Even if we adopted every one of the proposals in the President’s budget that Jason just talked about, we’re still getting more than 50 percent of that $7.4 trillion in deficit reduction from spending reductions, not from revenue increases.”

us budget obfuscation team
The Administration budget obfuscation team.

Translated out, Mr. Donovan is telling us they aren’t going to spend $7.4 trillion more although we hear the Obama White House would like to, but we are going to spend more. One thing Mr. Donovan could not tell the assembled members of the fourth estate was if there was any debt reduction at all.

Tragically, the White House in several exchanges in the Q and A said they believe they have no major opposition to stop them in the budget process this year, as they got nearly everything they wanted last year. “So our experience last year gives us some optimism of what is possible this year, particularly when you consider that there are so many opportunities that are ripe for bipartisan agreement,” so said Josh Earnest.

So maybe it was not a bad choice by this White House to put a picture of a named-changed mountain on the cover of the budget!

Randy Foreman is the NewsBlaze White House Correspondent, reporting from inside and outside The White House and around the beltway in Washington, D.C.