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Obama Playing ‘Four Corners’ Offense in Budgetball

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 20, 2009 12:04 PM |

I thought Barack Obama liked basketball. Lovers of the game coerced the NCAA to utilize a 24-second clock in order to speed the game up, showcase players’ talents, and render the North Carolina ‘four corners’ offense ineffective. What was the basic premise of that offense? Stall tactics.

Well, welcome to the Brave New World of the Uncle Sam Economy where there is none other than President Obama working the budgetball around in true four corners fashion. The Associated Press reports White House Putting Off Budget Update:

The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today’s bleak landscape.

The administration’s annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama’s budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update – usually scheduled for mid-July – has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town Aug. 7 on its summer recess.

Who is playing ball with Barack? Tim Geithner, Peter Orszag, Larry Summers, and Austan Goolsbee, along with every other member of his administration. No surprise. The question begs, though, who is playing defense to expose this purely partisan political stall tactic?

Why is Obama “dribbling around” and dishing the budgetball into the corners? Little doubt he is concerned that public opinion will continue to turn against his increased deficit spending across the entire spectrum of his programs, primarily health care.

Obama is obviously hoping he can score a backdoor layup on healthcare shortly before Congress goes out for their August recess and without having to explain to the public just how bleak the economic landscape appears.

The AP reports:

The administration earlier this year predicted that unemployment would peak at about 9 percent without a big stimulus package and 8 percent with one. Congress did pass a $787 billion two-year stimulus measure, yet unemployment soared to 9.5 percent in June and appears headed for double digits.

Obama’s current forecast anticipates 3.2 percent growth next year, then 4 percent or higher growth from 2011 to 2013. Private forecasts are less optimistic, especially for next year.

Any downward revision in growth or revenue projections would mean that budget deficits would be far higher than the administration is now suggesting.

Recall that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently projected a less than robust .8 reading for the United States GDP in 2010. I highlighted the disparities in economic projections from the IMF, CBO, and OMB in writing “GDP Projections from IMF, CBO, OMB.”

With a figure anywhere close to the IMF projection, the federal deficit will soar and the ‘tax train’ will be coming ’round the bend!!

Obama is certainly not the first President to try a ‘four corners’ approach in delivering bad news. That said, our economy is screaming for transparency at this time.

A four corners approach to budgetball is not only boring, but also economically unhealthy. Let’s start with truth, transparency, and integrity and go from there.


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