Via Politico:

The president prided himself on honesty in his first budget proposal, including the real estimated costs of spending, but Obama later shifted his stance and approved the use of budget gimmickry, according to The New Yorker.

When his aides suggested in late 2009 that he should abandon the honest approach on estimated spending on disaster aid, for example, the president signed off, The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza reports. Obama also approved of fanciful budget numbers on his signature health care legislation, Lizza wrote:

In the December 20th memo, [Obama aides] resorted to gimmickry…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 [a] 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.

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