Who is Peter Orszag?

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

why the fuck is Peter Orszag of OMB even commenting on this ?  

asked Compound F, earlier today.


I picked this off of google cache, written post election, Nov 18 2008, marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives

Obama Wants Orszag At OMB

18 Nov 2008 03:05 pm

Barack Obama has tapped CBO director Peter Orszag to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, my collegues at National Journal report today.

He’s a youngish overachiever, just 40, and subscribes to the theory of what he once called “cool-headed, warm-hearted” economic policy. Judging by his blog, Orszag has smart and interesting things to say about the intersection of psychology and economics, the long-term vs. short-term effects of climate change legislation, honest budgeting and accounting, and lots more.

OMB is the executive branch’s budgetary arm and management oversight evaluator. The director serves as a key presidential adviser on the economy and is responsible for projecting the fiscal consequences of any presidential decision. OMB would figure out how much Barack Obama’s health care plan will cost, for example, as it gets introduced in Congress. It’ll score every bill that Congress sends to Obama. It’s the repository of policy, responsible for official statements. More to the point, though, is that OMB will administer Obama’s transparency agenda. Regulatory reform will originate at OMB.

HuffPo has been following Orszag’s love life, the love child with the Greek tycoon heiress, and the engagement to the drop dead gorgeous young Russian born ABC news “financial reporter.”



But it’s this May 2009 New Yorker article by Lizza that you need to keep and save about Orszag and the Obama presidency,   “Money Talks”



….bulletproof résumé: Exeter, Princeton, the London School of Economics, the Clinton White House, the Congressional Budget Office, Obama’s Cabinet.

…. he spent a year in post-Soviet Russia as an economist working for Richard Layard, of the L.S.E. (Orszag later returned to the L.S.E. and received his Ph.D. in 1997.)

(note: LSE is London School of Economics, Baron Richard Layard is a British economist, and member of the British House of Lords, see    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H…  )

(personal note re “Happiness Economics”: I’m a cynic on very wealthy, or wealthy and powerful, people telling other people making $15,000 a year or less that the reason they are unhappy is not their income, even if they do have doctorates in economics, but I will acknowledge that there are a lot of personally miserable millionaires and billionaires)


Aides who thought that they were coming to Washington to achieve universal health insurance, rescue inner-city schools, or save the planet from global warming tend to view the Administration’s work on the financial system as a black hole threatening to swallow the real Obama agenda, with all its Rooseveltian ambition-an agenda crafted in the pre-crisis innocence of the early Presidential campaign. This agenda is stubbornly expressed in exquisite detail in the President’s budget, which Orszag released on February 26th. Unlike buying toxic assets, bailing out insurance and automobile companies, and the rest of the economic-crisis management that has dominated the first months of the new Administration, the budget is a reminder of why Obama ran for President. That makes Peter Orszag more than just the budget director. He is the unlikely guardian of Obamaism itself.

Cass Sunstein, the University of Chicago legal scholar, who is the co-author, with Richard Thaler, of “Nudge,” a book about how policymakers can harness insights from behavioral economics, and Jeffrey Liebman, a behavioral economist from Harvard, both work for Orszag.

Orszag is convinced that rising federal health- care costs are the most important cause of long- term deficits.

If spending more on health care has no correlation with making people healthier, then there must be enormous savings that a smart government, by determining precisely which medical procedures are worth financing and which are not, could wring out of the system.

At the core of both the stimulus bill and the Obama budget is Orszag’s belief that a government empowered with research on the most effective medical treatments can, using the proper incentives, persuade doctors to become more efficient health-care providers, thus saving billions of dollars. Obama is in effect betting his Presidency on Orszag’s thesis.

And this, in the end, is why the Obama administration is going to go down in flames on this issue, because of the flawed assumptions that they made right at the beginning, to appease the House and Senate uber- conservative war hawks (Like Sen. Kent Conrad, which isn’t widely acknowledged) that it was DOMESTIC entitlement spending that was out of control and driving the deficit, when it is the unfunded mandate to keep running foreign wars without revenues to pay for them, that are growing in costs by leaps and bounds.

Now, anytime that the President is wondering what to do, all he has to do is go to Rahm and Orszag, who helped craft the original stimulus deal and bank bailouts, and they tell him it’s too expensive to please Kent Conrad, and voila, there’s the excuse to not do it.  On any subject.

Kent Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has made eradicating the federal budget deficit his life’s work. He told me that he picked Orszag to run the C.B.O. in 2007  

Sen. Kent Conrad(D, ND) has been an opponent of universal coverage and of the Public Option, recently was interviewed by Ezra Klein as being doubtful that reconciliation would work to get the health insurance bill passed, and takes his turns in what Glenn Greenwald calls the Senate’s Villain Rotation dutifully.

This is what I mean by stupid. They either don’t understand that not having universal (health) coverage drives up consumer prices, keeping the Care by Casino Lottery system going, or they DO understand and want to keep up prices as high as possible anyway, because it makes them and their rich friends much richer, it keeps Wall Street happy, and that way they can pine and whine like a Republican about the government spending too much money.  Instead they’ve embraced the bean counter Kaiser HMO school of business thought on having the HMO repeatedly tell the consumer/patient that they can’t have certain tests or care because it has not been “proven” to be the cheapest way to treat them.  Part of that system requires the doctor/gatekeeper to always insist there is nothing wrong with the patient, because that is where their financial reward comes from, if we’re talking behavioral economics.  But this leads to patient/consumers still having to battle the HMO model to receive any care at all.

Instead of coming right out the post election gate with a determination to use the power of public opinion for mandating change in the first 100 days, these jokers were immediately trying to make Senate deals to do things during the second Obama administration, after they had appeased the people who didn’t want anything different to happen, first.  

And this is the person they’ve been kissing budgetary arse on, all along, from North Dakota.

These are really brilliant, talented people, but they’re also very stupid.  Many people, myself included, had written in past years about how the long term costs of caring for all the broken war veterans was going to be astronomical. And about how the costs of running the 2 mid east wars on supplementals outside the regular budget and on credit as an accounting gimmick with the American public was going to be a disaster.   Many Democrats ran for office in 2006 and 2008 on the issue of ensuring war veterans would be taken care of by the VA, and they absolutely have a right to that care. But now we have seen that the Obama administration will not confront the tax system with regards to skyrocketing military spending, instead humoring the war hawk’s contention that it’s domestic spending that’s out of control.

per wikipedia,

the FY 2010 military budget DOD is $680 billion, in total, adding in other defense related expenses, it is between $880 billion and 1.03 trillion dollars.

Congress is currently having hearings this week, on an additional “war supplemental” spending bill. http://thehill.com/homenews/ad…

And General Stanley McChystal is on a charm offensive with the media to combat a negative image of US forces after some recent heavy collateral damage.  McCrystal Reining In Special Forces in Wake of Afghan Civilian Deaths  3//15/2010



wiki, again

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been largely funded outside the Federal Budget.

By the end of 2008, the US has spent about $900 billion in direct costs on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Federal Budgets http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U…

2002 Bush $2.0 trillion  (submitted in 2001 by Bush)

2005 Bush  $2.4 trillion

2008 Bush  $2.8 trillion

2009  under Obama but submitted by Bush in 2008, $3.1 trillion

2010 Obama $3.5 trillion

2011 Obama  $3.8  trillion

You can’t ignore that 1/3 of that budget is military spending.

The President is now asking for a $33 billion dollar War Supplemental to pay for the Afghanistan surge, along with $159 billion War Supplemental for Fiscal Year 2011.

Bloomberg, yesterday, on the eve of the War Supplemental Hearings


President Barack Obama probably would veto legislation authorizing the next budget for U.S. intelligence agencies if it calls for a new investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, an administration official said.  

A proposed probe by the intelligence agencies’ inspector general “would undermine public confidence” in an FBI probe of the attacks “and unfairly cast doubt on its conclusions,” Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Anthrax-laced letters sent to lawmakers and news outlets nine years ago infected 22 people, killing five.

With time, it seems more obvious those anthrax laced letters were likely sent to coincide with the 9/11 attacks and were used to increase public paranoia, and were originally blamed on Saddam Hussein. One of those who survived being sent anthrax was Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, who does not believe the FBI report the administration released this February 2010.  Neither does Senator Arlen Specter, the former Philadelphia prosecutor and Republican turned Democrat, who also wants an independent investigation, as does Rep. Rush Holt, who has introduced legislation to do that.  http://www.salon.com/news/opin…

Marcy Wheeler


To sustain its claim that Ivins, rather than an accomplice, mailed the anthrax from Princeton, FBI engaged in addled speculation worthy of the Kennedy assassination. And now Obama is worried about “public confidence” in those addled speculations?

And shouldn’t there be an investigation of the investigation, at the least, because of the way FBI botched the investigation and framed Steven Hatfill?

If the investigation can’t bear any scrutiny, then I’d say there’s probably a good reason, and therefore a good reason to do an Inspector General investigation.

Glenn Greenwald:


As I’ve documented at length, not only are there enormous, unresolved holes in the FBI’s case, but many of the most establishment-defending mainstream sources – from leading newspaper editorial pages to key politicians in both parties – have expressed extreme doubts about the FBI’s case and called for an independent investigation. For the administration to actively block an independent review of one of the most consequential political crimes of this generation would probably be its worst act yet, and that’s saying quite a bit.

So yes, we should be asking, just who is, really, Peter Orszag ?


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  1. …. my name for Peter Orszag is He Who Sleeps With Skinny Women Carrying Immense Ugly Purses

    Nobody, but nobody, believes that hoary crock of porridge single crackpot theory the FBI came up with to explain the anthrax mailings.

    Also, please click on the nytimes link and look at the photo of the 5 graves and the prayer flags. It’s heartbreaking. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03

  2. No, really.  Cross my heart and hope to die.

  3. … in the Executive to intimidate the Legislative via the ultimate threat of taking the lives of key figures.

    Which would undermine confidence in, you know, the Executive.

    Can’t have that happening, now, can we.

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