White House Economic Memo Showed Obama Team Played Loosely With Numbers to Hide Costs

A lot of attention has been drawn to the official White memo authored by economist Larry Summers that shows the Obama administration purposely hid costs of Obama’s healthcare legislation and his overall agenda. Ryan Lizza at The New Yorker released the full document.

lawrence summers obama cabinet

Many have waded through the document and came to an obvious conclusion.

James Pethokoukis | The Enterprise Blog (see the analysis for each point).

1. The stimulus was about implementing the Obama agenda.

2. Team Obama knows these deficits are dangerous (although it has offered no long-term plan to deal with them).

3. Obamanomics was pricier than advertised.

4. Even Washington can only spend so much money so fast.

5. Liberals can complain about the stimulus having too many tax cuts, but even Team Obama thought more spending was unrealistic.

6. Team Obama wanted to use courts to force massive mortgage principal writedowns.

7. Team Obama thought a stimulus plan of more than $1 trillion would spook financial markets and send interest rates climbing.

8. Greg Mankiw, economic adviser to Mitt Romney, was dubious about the stimulus.

9. But the Fed was a stimulus enabler.

10. IPAB was there at the very beginning.

11. The financial crisis wasn’t just Wall Street’s fault.

The Politico

The president prided himself on honesty in his first budget proposal, including the real estimated costs of spending, but Obama later shifted his stance and approved the use of budget gimmickry, according to The New Yorker.

When his aides suggested in late 2009 that he should abandon the honest approach on estimated spending on disaster aid, for example, the president signed off, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reports. Obama also approved of fanciful budget numbers on his signature health care legislation.

Pirate’s Cove follows Pethokoukis’s line of thinking in seeing that the economic stimulus was only partly orchestrated for the purpose of stimulating the economy. The rest was rewarding campaign contributors, cementing Obama’s progressive agenda while emboldening its advocates, and showed without a doubt that his administration was anything but “post-partisan.”