Deficit Hawks and Deficit Frauds
Britain: This Time Is Not Different

Can't Anybody in the White House Play This Game?

A paragraph from Ezra Klein this morning struck me as yet more evidence that the staff in the Obama White House are simply not professionals, and do not understand the game.

Ezra Klein:

Orszag and Citigroup: It's difficult to overstate how much bad will has developed between Orszag and the White House he used to serve. Some of that comes from perceived disloyalty in Orszag's public statements -- like his first New York Times column, which called for a short-term extension of all the tax cuts when the White House was arguing for the permanent extension of most of the cuts and the expiration of the cuts for the rich...

Look: Peter Orszag believes--as do I--that the most basic principles of good governance mandate that the American government have a long-term plan in place to match its long-term projected expenditures with its long-term projected revenues. Peter Orszag believes--as do I--that requiring that every policy initiative be paid-for in the long-term so that it does not increase the projected debt, say, ten years out into the future is the minimum low bar that policy should be able to clear.

Barack Obama has not taken Peter Orszag's advice: he has not proposed only initiatives that are paid-for in the long-term. He has not pledged to veto bills that raise the projected debt ten years hence.

Peter Orszag is no longer in the government.

Does he now have a duty to tell those who read his New York Times columns the same things that he told Obama when he was in government?

Or does he have a duty to tell lies to his readers about what he thinks good policy is in order to advance the interests of an administration that he is no longer part of?

I would say he has the first duty.

The White House staff has no warrant to expect that ex-officials will say things that the administration regards as convenient after they leave government when they are different than what the ex-officials said at NEC meetings.

The assumption that Peter would rests, I think, on a lack of understanding that he really believes in the policies he advocates--that his primary loyalty is and always has been to the policies and not to any one or any group of politicians. It is, I think, very dangerous to have such a White House staff.