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Peter Orszag Flees White House

No sooner had the news of White House budget director Peter Orszag’s resignation hit the wires than a series of explanatory narratives emerged to accompany him out the door.

Complicated personal life, implied the Washington Post, recalling “the news that he had fathered a child with ex-girlfriend Claire Milonas, a Greek shipping heiress, and that he had become engaged to ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga. Their wedding is planned for September.”

Move along please, nothing to see here, insisted the New York Times: “Orszag ... somewhat reluctantly accepted Mr. Obama’s invitation to join the cabinet after the 2008 election and never planned to stay more than two years. Typically, budget directors do not.” Funny, we don’t recall hearing much about Mr. Orszag’s reluctance to accept the job at the time he was named to the post. It is true, though, that President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton each burned through four budget directors during their eight-year presidencies. (A seat at the table to anyone who can name all eight without looking them up on the Internets.)

Mr. Orszag “is likely to join a think tank, colleagues said,” reports Mike Allen of Politico. Mr. Allen doesn’t add it, but he’s also likely to try to monetize his experience some other way, either through paid speaking engagements, a book, a television deal, or a David Stockman-style magazine article.

Mickey Kaus, the blogger-turned-California Senate candidate-turned-blogger-again (he never really stopped being a blogger, actually), has been one of Mr. Orszag’s most persistent critics, coining the term Orszagism for the budget director’s approach of selling ObamaCare to Congress and the public as a way of reducing the federal budget deficit by bending the health care cost curve downward. The public had a hard time believing that you could provide health care to tens of millions more people without spending more money, and Mr. Kaus still doesn’t buy it, remarking that Mr. Orszag is “leaving before the curve hits the fan,” i.e., before it becomes clear that ObamaCare won’t actually save the federal government money, but will instead increase the size of the federal deficit.