In the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza writes a very long and sympathetic portrayal of a moderate Democratic president trying to tame Washington’s wild partisan politics. That president doesn’t exist, and even Lizza reports that the one we do have resorted to dishonesty in how he reporting government spending:
In the December 20th memo, they resorted to gimmickry. In his first budget, Obama had prided himself on “honest budgeting,” declining to employ the fanciful assumptions that the previous Administration had used to hide the costs of government. On disaster relief, for example, he had estimated that the government would need twenty billion dollars a year, a figure based on the statistical likelihood of major disasters requiring federal aid. Now Obama’s aides reminded him that Congress had ignored his “ ‘honest budgeting’ approach,” and perhaps they should, too. They proposed “$5 billion per year for disaster costs.” Obama drew another check mark. The White House could also save billions by fiddling with the way it presented savings from Obama’s health-care-reform bill. Check.