Sunday, March 08, 2009

The end of Washington's "dishonest accounting?"

On February 26, CNN reported:

In introducing the budget, Obama slammed what he called a "dishonest accounting" of the costs of U.S. wars, and reiterated his commitment to make government "more open and transparent."

"For too long, our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent," he said.

"Large sums have been left off the books, including the true cost of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that kind of dishonest accounting is not how you run your family budgets at home; it's not how your government should run its budgets either."

Fair enough. I never agreed with the supplemental appropriation bills for war funding because (as far as I knew) it was only the spending side of equation and ignored the tax side. So when Obama was discussing "dishonest accounting," I figured this is what he had in mind.

And after decades of dishonest accounting (i.e. deficit spending), I wasn't surprised in the least bit to see last fall's banker bailout discussed strictly in terms of spending... while ignoring the tax side.

And I was glad that President Obama seemed to be tackling the government's "dishonest accounting."

But then on March 5, Bloomberg News reported:

The Obama administration is not yet seeking new money for bank rescue efforts, even though it included a $250 billion “placeholder” amount for that purpose in its budget forecast.

Congress will be consulted as the administration decides to seek new money, Geithner said. The bank rescue budget for now is “very much in the spirit of how we account for foreign wars and national disasters,” rather than an estimate of projected needs.

I may very well be missing something here. But I don't think I'm taking anything out of context. And I read quite a bit about this stuff. So I'm at a loss as to how America's Chief Comic Officer, Tim Geithner, is not directly contradicting President Obama. Anyone have any idea what I'm missing here?

Tim White


Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

To put this article in Cheshire terms, if we had a responsable council member, this person would push to have the budget talks after the outgoing bids come back. Otherwise, it is too easy for government to take away a service that we want (school sports) and fund something we dont (pool) and call it an adjustment for unknown spending.

Anonymous said...


You are 100% correct that the ACTIONS of Geithner are contradicting the WORDS of Obama. You are not missing anything at all.

I think it would be best to judge by the ACTIONS of the Obama administration (that includes Geithner too).

HOPE is fastly becoming a poor man's supper.

Best Regards,

Mike Ulicki