Diary

More Presidential Double-speak

OR: Today’s Paradoxes of the Presidency

Earlier, I wrote about some “Presidential Double-speak” that discussed the disconnect between President Obama’s Proclamation to make March 2009 “American Red Cross Month” with its call to “support this organization’s noble humanitarian mission” and Obama Administration Budget Proposal that included a plan to “to impose new limits on charitable tax deductions for wealthy people.”

Now what’s see what more the Administration has to say about its budget. A Washington Post article by Philip Rucker from March 3, 2009, highlights another disconnect.

A lot has been said about Obama’s budget proposal. Let’s hear what the White House budget director, Peter Orszag, has to say about it:

“We have no desire to bloat bureaucracy — indeed, just the opposite — and the budget will not do that.”
But, he added, “in several key areas — from properly auditing contracts to providing quality medical care to veterans and reducing errors in Medicare and other programs — investing in skilled professionals will not only pay off over time but also immediately deliver better service to taxpayers.”

Wait – so the budget won’t bloat the bureaucracy? Or it will?

How will “investing in skilled professionals” not add to the size of the federal government? Are you planning on laying off individuals from other departments to save head count for these new skilled professionals? Is this going to be another one of those I-know-but-I-can’t-tell-you moments, like when he promised to have “a net spending cut…. What I want to emphasize … is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches.”

(Quote from within the first minute or so)

The article reports that “one independent estimate was 100,000 [new federal workers], while the conservative Heritage Foundation said it is likely to be closer to a quarter-million.”

If there wasn’t enough disconnect between the Administration’s “dollar-cut for dollar-increased-spending” and “not bloating the federal government” and “investing in [lots and lots of] skilled professionals,” there is apparently a disconnect between the White House and the rest of the Administration.

The article continues, “Administration officials said they cannot determine overall hiring projections until the president’s full budget is released this spring, but acknowledged that significant new hiring will occur.”

And,

Several major agencies said they are already making plans to grow their workforces, some significantly. […]
Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, for instance, said they expect to hire more than 17,000 new employees by the end of the year, many at hospitals and other facilities to fulfill Obama’s pledge to expand veterans’ access to health care. The agency — whose budget will grow by 11 percent, to $56 billion, under Obama’s plan — will add about 7,900 nurses, 3,300 doctors, 3,800 clerks and 2,400 practical nurses, spokeswoman Josephine Schuda said.

So, even your own team is planning on your budget increasing jobs…

Apparently, the Obama Administration is trying to adapt itself to the Paradoxes of the Presidency, only they’ve added some new categories. To the paradoxes suggested by Cronin and Genovese that “that Americans want the president to be both a leader and a follower, partisan and bipartisan, and innovative and conservative,” we now have the
* Stimulate the economy with $1 trillion in government spending AND cut the deficit in half in four years
* Support charities and non-profits AND we’re going to remove tax incentives while doing it
* We won’t bloat the size of the federal government BUT we’ll “invest in new professionals”

What other paradoxes in the new administration have you seen so far?

Crossposted on The Erb Report – Politics