The previous post was garbled somehow in the process of posting; apologies.
The White House web site now contains a link to the just-released OMB Mid Session Review (.pdf warning). It is filled with lots of facts, figures, and general good fun! Let’s jump right in!
Guess what? It’s all Bush’s fault!
- In January of 2009, the economy was on the brink of a potentially severe depression…
- …the country faced historic budget deficits and an unsustainable fiscal trajectory. No longer was the Nation expecting to enjoy the surpluses projected at the beginning of the last decade. Instead, upon taking office, the President was presented with a budget deficit for 2009 estimated to be $1.3 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP. The previous Administration’s decisions not to pay for three large domestic initiatives (the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the Medicare prescription drug benefit of 2003), along with the effects of the economic collapse and the steps needed to combat it, produced an historically large ten-year deficit of more than $8 trillion. Even this large amount did not account for the depth or duration of the recession, and the ten-year deficit projections grew by an additional $2 trillion as the severity of the downturn became fully apparent.
Translation: I wanted to be President, but I never wanted to be responsible, so I’m not. My people are such a sad bunch of out of touch, undereducated, overdegreed ideologues that even they couldn’t figure out just how bad it really was. Altogether, we couldn’t manage our way out of a wet paper bag. Got it?
After talking endlessly about “the recovery” and how a googolplex of new jobs were saved or created, those pesky, sometimes hard-to-hide facts start to sneak out. Tax receipts are less than predicted; does this mean the “recovery” isn’t going well?:
[Tax] Receipts for 2010 are now projected to be $33 billion lower than projected in February for a total of $2.132 trillion, or 14.5 percent of GDP. For 2011, receipts are now projected to be $141 billion lower than projected in February for a total of $2.426 trillion, or 15.8 percent of GDP. Two-thirds of the reduction in receipts for 2011 result from technical reestimates, which reflect actual tax collections so far in 2010, tax model revisions, and updated taxable wage base data from employer tax returns…Just as receipts for the current and budget years are now projected to be somewhat lower than projected in the Budget, receipts for 2012 through 2017 are also projected to be lower.
Translation: My people are such a sad bunch of out of touch, undereducated, overdegreed ideologues they still can’t figure out just how bad it really is. I can’t tell whether they’re lying or incompetent. Can someone please help us?
And now for an expert treatment of the really touchy subject of deficits:
Because of the lower outlays now projected for 2010, the deficit for 2010 is expected to be $1.471 trillion, $84 billion lower than projected in February. The 2010 deficit is projected to be 10.0 percent of GDP, which is 0.6 percentage points lower than projected in February and about the same as the 2009 level.
Woo Hoo! Deficit reduction! Things are lookin’ up, baby! Oh, wait, darnit…
- For 2011, the deficit is projected to decline from the 2010 level to $1.416 trillion, or 9.2 percent of GDP, $150 billion higher than projected in February. This reestimate is primarily because of the reduction in projected receipts. For 2012, the deficit is also projected to be slightly higher than projected.
Translation: My people are such a sad bunch of out of touch, undereducated, overdegreed ideologues that they have no fricking clue what to do, but they know they need to keep up the pretense of government management of the economy. I wish Orszag wasn’t quitting, because even if you mashed Summers and Geithner together the resulting blob couldn’t get a guest slot on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”.