51 Herbert Hoovers
Double-Dip Watch

Why Mitch Daniels Should Not Be President

Paul Krugman from 2001:

Reckonings; Pants On Fire: Published: August 24, 2001

To: Mitch Daniels, Office of Management and Budget

Dear Mitch:

I have a suggestion. It's dishonest and irresponsible -- but I suspect that doesn't bother you. And it would help you squirm out of a problem that we both know isn't going away.

True, your bobbing and weaving have been impressive. Some people have actually bought your line that the surplus has vanished because of Congressional big spending, even though the spending numbers have hardly changed since your previous, bullish projection. And most reporters, bless their tiny little heads, have written about the budget shortfall as if it were a temporary problem; they haven't looked at Table 3 of your own report, which despite all your cooking of the books projects only a razor-thin non-Social-Security surplus for the next five years. But there's more trouble ahead. You bullied the Congressional Budget Office into delaying its own budget projection until next week, so that you could get your numbers out first. Still, when the C.B.O. numbers come out everyone knows that they will look considerably worse than yours. And of course we both know that the truth is actually even worse than that, because the C.B.O. must pretend to believe... when you claim that you can provide prescription drug insurance for a third of what anyone else thinks it will cost, or that you won't adjust the alternative minimum tax even when millions of irate voters ask why their tax cut has been snatched away....

In the end, we both know, the truth will become apparent. Eventually there will be no disguising the fact that thanks to the tax cut the nation has failed to make adequate preparations for the demographic deluge, that money that was supposed to be accumulated to pay retirement benefits has been used instead to provide big tax cuts to the very, very affluent.

But then that's been the plan all along, hasn't it?