Hot Air is reporting that it has obtained a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.) that shows that Social Security is in more trouble than Obama’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget (O.M.B.), Peter Orszag, previously reported. The C.B.O. and the C.B.O. website and “Director’s Blog” contain no mention or repudiation of the report. Apparently, they haven’t read their own memo yet.
Orszag, Obama’s “Supernerd”, is an economist that previously served as the Director of the C.B.O. and was responsible for the publication of the previous report that stated that social security would not go into deficit spending until at least 2019. This new report, under the guidance of a new director, indicates the social security will run deficits in 2010. The differences between the two reports, by two different directors raises questions of either Orszag’s ethics or his competence.
If Orszag manipulated the previous reports or influenced his subordinates to manipulate the them, there are serious ethics violations. Did he do it just to get into the current Administration or because he wanted to curry favor with the liberal congress that had just effectively killed President Bush’s attempts to reform social security by claiming that the program wouldn’t have any problems for fifty (50) years or more.
On the flip side, it could simply be incompetence. Reviewing a paper written by Orszag and Peter Diamond, they propose a combination of tax increases and benefit cuts to salvage the possibility of a deficit. If this were his true desire, presenting social security as stronger than it actually is would not help him make the case for massive cuts and tax increases. This would indicate that he actually believed that the government-run retirement program would be stable for longer than it actually will.
Mr. Orszag is now the minder of the White House budget. There will be situations where the O.M.B. will publish reports that discount or contradict those of the C.B.O. If either Director Orszag’s ethics or competence are in-question, then certainly his credibility is shot as well.