Jack Lew Appointed as President’s New Budget Director.

UPDATE:
(7/13/10) President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob (Jack) Lew, by Jesse Lee, The White House Blog. Jack Lew is the former executive vice president of New York University, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, and former deputy director at OMB under the Clinton Administration.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/07/13/president-obama-announces-a-new-omb-director-jacob-lew.

(6/22/10) President’s Budget Director Resigns. After only 18 months as White House Budget Director, Peter Orszag (age 41) plans to resign his post as early as July.  Orszag is one of the one of the most visible members of President Barack Obama’s economic team, and is the most senior official to leave the Obama administration thus far.  As director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Orszag holds Cabinet-level rank and a key role in shaping how the administration spends taxpayers’ money- not to mention defending those positions.

Just 18 months ago, Orszag was the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The CBO is the non-partisan agency charged with providing unbiased economic analyses to Congress about the cost of legislation.  When Orszag was being considered for the position of Budget Director criticism arose about the possibility of the CBO inflating scores for political purposes.  CBO scores are supposed to be objective and unbiased.  Inflating a CBO score makes a particular bill seem more expensive over time, then it necessarily is.  The issue was not pursued further, but now, members of Congress are now more apt to question a bill’s alleged cost.  If you want to know more about Orszag’s titillating personal life read the 1/6/10 New York Post article (as if the guy doesn’t have enough to deal with).  For a less salacious window into Peter Orszag, read his Official 2007 Biography

Upon becoming the President’s Budget Director, Orszag immediately went to work shepherding through Congress the $862 billion stimulus bill (ARRA).  Considered camera-friendly, he quickly emerged from an otherwise bureaucratic post to become a pitchman for the Obama Administration, occasionally sharing ideas and plans with the media on plans to reduce the deficit or stimulate the economy.

With two presidential budgets under his belt, a billion dollar Stimulus Package and a billion dollar Healthcare Reform Act,  Orszag is now well seasoned.  His departure comes at a critical time for the Obama Administration.  Mid-term elections, traditionally a referendum on a President’s handling of the economy, are less than 5 months away.  As the gulf oil spill grows, the Administration continues to try to rein in the federal deficit while rallying support for additional stimulus spending.

Orszag may have only spent 18 months as the president’s Budget Director, but he shares the blame for the nation’s current lack-luster economic “recovery” and the nearly 10% unemployment rate.  According to the CBO, the Federal Budget Deficit for the first eight months of FY2010 was $941 billion.  Unfortunately we all share a little of the blame too.  Until America is willing to change its culture of consumption (by ending our over-reliance on cheap goods from China, and by developing alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuels) we will continue to be disappointed by our leaders as they struggle to do more with less… and less… and less. 

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Read more at The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription)

For a lighter approach to this story read Orszag! Don’t leave us!, by Julie Mason, White House Correspondent, The Washington Examiner (6/21/10).

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