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Sniff, sniff. What’s Orzsag cooking? I think it’s the books

Wonderful reporting today in the Politico by David Rogers. Basically, The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, wants to change the rules for the way that government tells Congress and the American people how much money it spends at the IMF. Orszag, is claiming that a $100 billion dollars check that we send to the IMF should be reported as $0. Zero. Nothing. Really.

Yet if all this IMF money were added to the president’s $83.4 billion supplemental request, it would more than double in size — even if it would be no more costly to taxpayers in direct spending.

For this reason, no one is eager to step forward with a budget amendment. And Orszag argues that it would be better to treat the whole transaction as an exchange of assets with the IMF — and not as spending at all.

This “exchange of assets” is because we get “special drawing rights” on IMF reserves in exchange for our money, nicely explained here by The Economist magazine. These are the “currency” of the IMF  that is used to bail out countries.

This is a cow-patty gimmick. Remember those? The kind that Barack Obama said he didn’t do? Recall that he claimed that he fully funded the war in the budget. This money is to be authorized via a supplemental. For the war. Which wasn’t fully funded by the budget.

This isn’t transparency. This isn’t honesty. This is a lie. This is $100b in added deficit this year, however important, that Obama and Orszag don’t want to tell the American people about.

David Rogers deserves a big thank you from the American people for shining a light on this.

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