To President Obama who wisely gave the coup de grâce to the ill fated A-76 process. The A-76 process, to outsource tasks once only performed by government, had some worthy goals. But, the implementation was poorly managed by OMB during the Bush Administration, and most Agency heads had come to the conclusion that the A-76 process consumed far more resources than it saved. Obama was right to bury it.
To OMB Director, Peter Orszag. This past weekend, Orszag was asked why the President would sign a budget that included some 8,500 earmarks providing funding to thousands of non-essential projects (studying pig odor in Iowa is but one particularly offensive example). Orszag responded that the President did not yet have the “full legislative authority” to fulfill his campaign promise. What a shameful response! With Democrats controlling the House, the Senate and the Executive Branch, the excuse that they lack legislative authority is nonsense.
As far back as August 2008, I criticized the decision by OMB to forego the discipline of conducting a rigorous budget review during President Bush’s last year in office (Irresponsibility Alive and Well). Now we can fully understand the cost of Johnson’s decision to punt on difficult budget priorities and Orszag’s recent declaration to do the same. Taxpayers are going to eat another 8,576 earmarks and spend billions on projects we don’t need and can’t afford. The nation continues to pay a very high cost because key leaders in OMB, in both the Bush Administration and now the Obama Administration, lack the courage to say no to wasteful spending.