Notes for U.C. Davis Debate on the Stimulus Package
DeLong: The Economy S----, but That's Expected

It's Good to Talk to Career Staff Familiar with the Government Troika Forecasting Process...

Greg Mankiw writes:

Greg Mankiw's Blog: Rosy Scenario, or the Audacity of Hope?: Here... are the growth forecasts used to put out the new Obama administration budget, followed by the consensus forecast of a panel of "Blue Chip" private forecasters....

2009: -1.2% -1.9%
2010: +3.2% +2.1%
2011: +4.0% +2.9%
2012: +4.6% +2.9%
2013: +4.2% +2.8%

Accumulating the difference, you find that Team Obama projects about 6 percent higher GDP in 2013 than do private forecasters. A related news story:

The Obama administration's outlook has private economists wondering: Has Rosy Scenario made a comeback?...

Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, a major private forecasting firm, called the administration's forecasts "way too optimistic" and said it could represent a return to the overly optimistic forecasts of previous administrations confronted by surging budget deficits.

"They used to joke during the Reagan years that the highest ranking woman in the administration was Rosy Scenario," he said. "We may be seeing a return of Rosy Scenario."

The actual highest ranking woman on the economic team is named Christy, not Rosy, and here is what she had to say:

Speaking to reporters Thursday, White House economist Christina Romer called the projections an "honest forecast" by the administration's professional forecasters. "I'd reject the premise that we're noticeably rosier," she said. "We certainly are somewhat more optimistic, but certainly nothing out of the ballpark."

Various little birds in and around the Hall of Fiscal Rectitude tell me that Christie Romer and Jared Bernstein were more pessimistic rather than more optimistic than the career staff during the forecasting process--that their input tended to push estimates of economic growth down, not up.