Just Plain Wrong
This whole thing is just disgraceful. To top it all off, every Treasury release now has the following useful public service announcement at the bottom:
America has a choice: It can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the President’s policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.
I’m sure Brad DeLong can confirm that this is the kind of thing that, in the Rubin/Summers Treasury Department — and in fact in every Treasury Department from Hamilton and Gallatin forward — not only would not have been done, but wouldn’t even be considered.
UPDATE: See Demagogue for the shocking source of this “Treasury Department” Advisory.
I am once again, sadly, once again reminded that the Mayberry Machiavellis are in charge. From the DiIulio letter:
In eight months, I heard many, many staff discussions, but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical, non-stop, 20-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but, on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking—discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue.
So, in a bizarre sense, Treasury’s addendum is honest — at least, it’s honest in the very narrow sense that virtually no one in the White House knows any better.