The Jack Lew Appointment: Classic Obama Hypocrisy
Here is an example of Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama's hypocrisy. Obama said, in 2009, "I refuse to leave our children with a debt they cannot repay. We cannot and will not sustain deficits like these without end. ... We cannot simply spend as we please." He pledged to halve the $1.3-billion deficit by the end of his first term. But what has actually happened is that the deficit has not been reduced by half, or anywhere close. Deficits for fiscal years 2010 through 2012 were $1.293 trillion, $1.300 trillion, and $1.089 trillion. FY2013 has a budgeted deficit of $901 billion. The debt, currently over $16.4 trillion, is increased each year by more than the amount of each year's deficit because a substantial amount of federal borrowing is not counted in the budget.
If that weren't bad enough, Obama now plans to appoint Jack Lew as Treasury secretary, replacing that well-known tax-avoider, Tim Geithner. Geithner was no bargain. As one of Obama's primary economic advisors, he was responsible for fiscal policy, so he must shoulder some of the blame for the ever-increasing debt. For example, estimates call for a projected 86.7-percent debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in 2013, while it was (a bad enough) 65.9-percent debt-to-GDP ratio in 2009, when Obama and Geithner took office. So Lew has a tough act to follow.
But follow it he will. Because Lew has been nominated for Treasury secretary, some of his "accomplishments" should be examined.
- Posted in February 2011, Investor's Business Daily savaged Obama's proposed budget -- the one prepared by Jack Lew.
- Bob Woodward wrote in his book, The Price of Politics (pages 236-7):
On the morning of Friday, July 15,  Boehner, called the president to follow through. ... Would the president send [Treasury Secretary Tim] Geithner and [Chief of Staff Bill] Daley up to the Capitol? And, Mr. President, the speaker added, please don't send Jack Lew. The budget director talked too much, was uncompromising, and Boehner's staff did not believe he could get to yes.
In an interview a year later, Boehner still had strong feelings about Lew. "Jack Lew said no 999,000 times out of a million," Boehner said, chuckling. Then he corrected himself. "999,999. It was unbelievable. At one point I told the president, keep him out of here. I don't need somebody who just knows how to say no."
- Lew, on February 13, 2011, on CNN's State of the Union, said, "Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we're not adding to the debt anymore; we're spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt." For your information, the national debt increased by $1.5 trillion while Lew was director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
- Lew said, on March 11, 2011, at the OMB blog, "... [Charles] Krauthammer says that I am making a 'preposterous claim that Social Security is solvent for 26 years.' This is not a 'claim.' This is the projection[.]" Lew continued (emphasis mine):
"Krauthammer is correct when he writes that there is no 'lockbox' that keeps the money sent in by workers for until they retire. By design, when more taxes are collected than are needed to pay benefits, funds are invested in Treasury bonds and are held in reserve for when revenue collected is not enough to pay the benefits due. Yet these Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government in the same way that all other U.S. Treasury bonds are, making them anything but 'worthless IOUs' as Krauthammer suggests."
Ironic, isn't it, that Lew, while increasing national debt, invoked the "full faith and credit" phrase? In 2000, Lew, while Clinton's OMB director, said of the Social Security Trust Fund, "They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits." Lew said that the trust fund "balances" are just a "bookkeeping" device. So which is it, Jack? You can't have it both ways.
- Concerning budget surpluses, Lew did not become Bill Clinton's OMB director until May 1998. But the capital gains tax rate cut that caused the surpluses were enacted in 1997 and were the work of Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and John Kasich (R-OH). Lew was a member of the negotiating team. All Lew did was preside over the surpluses.
This is the same Jack Lew who, in 1999, wrote that "balancing the budget and paying down the national debt was 'the best pro-growth strategy for our economy,' and that high federal deficits act like a 'straightjacket' on the economy." Lew wrote:
When the government adds to private savings rather than drawing from it, more resources are available for private economic growth, higher standards of living, and increased revenues - without any increase in tax rates.
The president's [Clinton] plan to retire such a large amount of debt is also the best pro-growth strategy for our economy.
If there ever was any doubt that Lew is not a political hack, his own words and economic reversal should dispel that notion.
This is the same Jack Lew who received an almost $1-million bonus from bailed-out Citigroup. And Lew was nominated by the man who, in January 2009, "called financial institutions 'shameful' for giving themselves nearly $20 billion in bonuses as the economy was faltering and the government was spending billions to bail out financial institutions."
This is the same Jack Lew who, as recently as 2010, had $56,000 in an offshore investments account with CitiGroup venture capital fund in the Cayman Islands' Ugland House. That's the same Cayman Islands featured in an Obama campaign ad that said, "He [Mitt Romney] had millions in a Swiss bank account ... tax havens like Bermuda ... and the Cayman Islands[.] ... Mitt Romney's not the solution. He's the problem." That little "problem" was very well dealt with by Rick Moran. As Moran says (emphasis mine), "[t]he White House says that Lew paid all his taxes on all of his income. But that's not the issue. The issue is the idea that it is evil to have an offshore account - at least it was for Mitt Romney."
Just so you know, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hypocrisy as a "feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not; especially: the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion." That fits Obama to a T. Lew as well. All we can do is hope that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has this information. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) chairs the Senate Finance Committee, so it looks as if we are going to be stuck with Lew. Obama hypocrisy strikes again.
Dr. Beatty earned a Ph.D. in quantitative management and statistics from Florida State University. He was a (very conservative) professor of quantitative management specializing in using statistics to assist/support decision-making. He has been a consultant to many small businesses and is now retired. Dr. Beatty is a veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He blogs at rwno.limewebs.com.