A Community College Dean Looks at the Macroeconomic Situation, and Panics
Electricity in Baghdad

The Administration Snookers Edmund Andrews

Last winter, Stan Collender wrote:

BUDGET BATTLES: Wolf! (01/17/2006): The Bush administration held a conference call with reporters last week to say that the 2006 deficit would be $400 billion or more. As the White House hoped, the media dutifully reported that number. But, as it almost certainly did not want, the media also reported that this latest Bush administration budget pronouncement should be treated with doubt, skepticism, and perhaps even outright contempt. The reason is that this president has a well-established history of overstating the deficit early in the year and then taking credit when it turns out to be lower than projected, even if it has done nothing to make that happen...

Today, the usually-reliable Edmund Andrews obligingly falls for the administration's trick:

Surprising Jump in Tax Revenues Is Curbing Deficit - New York Times: By EDMUND L. ANDREWS: WASHINGTON, July 8 -- An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy is driving down the projected budget deficit this year, even though spending has climbed sharply because of the war in Iraq and the cost of hurricane relief. On Tuesday, White House officials are expected to announce that the tax receipts will be about $250 billion above last year's levels and that the deficit will be about $100 billion less than what they projected six months ago. The rising tide in tax payments has been building for months, but the increased scale is surprising even seasoned budget analysts and making it easier for both the administration and Congress to finesse the big run-up in spending over the past year. Tax revenues are climbing twice as fast as the administration predicted in February, so fast that the budget deficit could actually decline this year...

Two things are going on: approximately $60 billion of real good news on the revenue side for the 2006 deficit, and an approximately $60 billion highballed overstatement by the White House last winter about what the deficit was likely to be. Yet Edmund Andrews treats all $120 billion as if it were genuine good news--generating a bunch of high fives in the White House press office.

Why does the White House lie all the time, about everything? Because the press corps lets them get away with it.