The New York Times is developing a bad habit of sending its columns to the Obama administration for approval. Daniel Harper at the Weekly Standard reported yesterday on a no-no committed by then-contributing Times columnist Peter Orszag, former director of Obama's Office of Management and Budget and an Obama-care booster in an October 20, 2010 column, "Malpractice Methodology." Halper wrote in part:
After nearly two years in office, the "first rate" economic team that President Obama assembled to turn things around - Peter Orszag, Christina Romer, Larry Summers and Timothy Giethner - has itself nearly turned over.
His E-team of "brainy" economists, as ABC's Claire Shipman called one of them, went to work even before Obama took office, ultimately crafting a massive stimulus plan that they said would create millions of jobs. The media regarded them highly, giving them plenty of live interview time and constantly pushing their economic ideas.
ABC's Diane Sawyer called them "economic gladiators" in late 2008, as Obama was assembling his team. The networks also gave Obama's picks, especially Geithner's appointment, credit for a huge stock market rally.
"Stocks staged a monster rally last week after President-elect Obama unveiled his new economic team. But the euphoria evaporated today," CBS's Anthony Mason declared Dec. 1, 2008, on "Evening News."
To many, it's hardly a revelation to most, but when someone keeps taking the same action over and over again, even to his detriment, it can reveal a lot about that individual's belief system.
This was an observation CNBC "Squawk Box" host Joe Kernen made about the Obama administration's willingness to embrace a populist "soak the rich" tactic against the wealthy in the United States, even though it isn't winning him favor with the American people, according to opinion polling. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows more people now think President Barack Obama's policies have hurt the economy than have helped. And Kernen called the unwillingness to change course evidence of the president's ideology - proof he does believe in the redistribution of wealth.
"When push comes to shove, the left wins out with this guy," Kernen said on the Sept. 8 broadcast of "Squawk Box." "Axelrod calls the shots when push comes to shove. And this will make the case for a populist argument that these rich people - soak the rich - they do not need this and we're going to cut for the middle class and we're going to pay for it by soaking the rich. And it's right down - but it also - he said it all along, but to his critics, those critics, it's more evidence of a redistribution that when it all comes down to it, the overriding mandate of this administration - it's a redistribution of wealth."
The massive revolving door between the mainstream media and the Obama administration has spun once again, this time as former White House budget director Peter Orszag signs on as a New York Times op/ed columnist.
Orszag is the eighteenth individual (that we know of) to transition between the White House and the mainstream press. He will surely not be the last. That amazingly high number again underscores the ideological similarities between members of the Obama administration and members of the press.
NewsBusters posts Friday afternoon provided readers with a list of 65 known participants in the now-infamous Journolist (via Melissa Clouthier) and the special case of Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's Economic Adviser (via Lachian Markey).
(Aside: Does the fact that Biden has his own econ adviser explain why what the Vice President says in public about the economy is so often of sync with the rest of the President's peeps?)
Here's another very special name that could (emphasis: could) be added to the (Journo)List: the soon-departing White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.
Good Morning America on Tuesday skipped the news that Peter Orszag, Barack Obama's budget director, is resigning from the White House. Perhaps not coincidentally, Orszag is also the fiance of GMA's weekend anchor Bianna Golodryga. CBS's Early Show and NBC's Today both covered the subject.
Today reporter Savannah Guthrie explained, "It's a mix of the personal and the political. Most budget directors stay about 18 months. If he had stayed much longer, he'd probably have to get into the next budget cycle and be in for the long haul. He's also getting married this fall."
The Early Show's Betty Nguyen pointed out, "Orszag would be the first high profile member of the Obama administration to leave." GMA has a history of ignoring awkward details for Golodryga. In January, the show skipped the fact that Orszag had a love child with his previous girlfriend (after divorcing his first wife). NBC covered it.
To highlight the announcement that Bianna Golodryga had been named co-anchor of the weekend Good Morning America, ABC blurred the lines of journalism on Sunday and brought on the host's fiancee, Barack Obama's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag.
In a fawning piece on Golodryga's life story, an onscreen graphic identified Orszag only as the journalist's fiancee. At the end of the segment, the Democratic official strode onto the set, surprising the host. Only then, almost as an aside, did co-anchor Bill Weir explain, "...For those who may not know, Bianna's fiancee is in President Obama's cabinet." [Audio available here.]
Golodryga has a long history of finding the liberal spin for economic issues (her main subject). On February 10, 2009, she promoted the efforts of a left-wing, self-proclaimed "bank terrorist," but left out any identifiers.
White House Budget Director Peter Orszag and Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf have a problem: They can't revise their budget estimates quickly enough to account for the continued bad news about tax collections arriving daily from the Treasury Department. Luckily for them, but unfortunately for taxpayers, an establishment media obsessed with PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome), TDS (Tebow Derangement Syndrome), and TPDS (Tea Party Derangement Syndrome) isn't paying any meaningful attention to the problem.
Back in August of last year, the CBO guesstimated that collections during fiscal 2010 will amount to $2.264 trillion. That guesstimate assumed a 7.5% increase over the $2.105 trillion collected in 2009, and clearly depended heavily on a revival in private-sector economic growth and employment.
Well, economic growth has occurred. The problem is that it's the government that has grown, while the private sector has shrunk. Additionally, according to the Establishment Survey published by Uncle Sam's Bureau Labor Statistics, seasonally adjusted total employment has continued to fall.
Thus, CBO dropped its estimate of fiscal 2010 receipts in projections it released in late January to $2.175 trillion. The collections guesstimate in the Obama administration's budget is actually a bit lower:
The New York Times broke the story online yesterday that ABC economics reporter Bianna Golodryga, a regular contributor to Good Morning America, will marry Obama budget chief Peter Orszag next fall.
They broke the happy news on the first half-hour of GMA Tuesday after Golodryga subbed in at the morning news desk and finished the newscast with Bristol Palin's custody suit with her ex-boyfriend and Playgirl model Levi Johnston. She quipped of Orszag: "There was no Playgirl shoot in his portfolio." Jackie Calmes reported the pairing yesterday:
He met Ms. Golodryga, a business and economics correspondent who, at 31, is a decade younger than him, last May at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where Mr. Orszag was a guest at ABC’s table. They have dated since, drawing attention in gossip columns for their attendance at several high-profile gala events.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air had the catch of the day yesterday when he revealed, based on Congressional Budget Office internal projections distributed to Congress during the summer, that the Social Security system will spend more cash than it takes in during the government's next fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Read about it there, or here, because you won't see the establishment media acknowledge the existence of these revelations.
Morrissey isn't clear as to when the report was prepared, but if it dates back to July or even early- mid-August, it's possible that Social Security will show a measly positive cash flow of less than $10 billion when the dust settles on the current fiscal year that will end next week, compared to +$72 billion a year ago. That's because the decay in Treasury's cash collections during the current quarter has been that bad.
The Obama White House revised up 2009's budget deficit projections to $1.8 trillion Monday, and the press blamed it on George W. Bush.
Without considering how the current budget passed last year with virtually no Republican support, and that all spending associated with this record-breaking deficit was either approved by Senator Obama or signed into law by President Obama, news outlets echoed what Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag ascribed as the culprit in his blog:
The deficits in these years, now projected to be 12.9 percent and 8.5 percent of GDP, respectively, are driven in large part by the economic crisis inherited by this Administration.
The New York Times accepted this assessment without question in its article on the subject Tuesday:
Obama sent Congress a detailed budget Thursday proposing to eliminate or trim 121 programs and save $17 billion next year — not a trifle, for sure, but only about half of one percent of the $3.4 trillion in federal spending for the fiscal year begining in October.
The size of the savings clearly was a sore subject at the White House.
"It is important ... for all of you, as you're writing up these stories, to recognize that $17 billion taken out of our discretionary, non-defense budget, as well as portions of our defense budget, are significant," Obama told reporters. "They mean something."
Still, Obama's hit list was smaller than the one President George W. Bush included in his budget last year targeting 151 programs for $34 billion in savings.
These alleged cuts mean almost nothing, according to the Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl, who cut through the misdirection earlier today at The Corner (bolds are mine):