Rock Bottom: U.S. Budget Chief says worst is over


By Trent McCandless

Yesterday Peter Orszag gave the American public reason to believe the national economy has hit rock bottom. Great news at first glance, but can we trust it—and who’s Peter Orszag?

Orszag is President Obamas’ “economic boy wonder”—at only forty years old he became the nations 37th Director of the Office of Management and Budget on January 30, 2009. Prior to accepting his new role Orszag was the Director of the Congressional Budget Office where he substantially increased the size of the analytical staff with regard to health care reform. Orszag believes a drastic change in health care policy is necessary before any substantial long term economic improvements will be seen.

According to Orszags statement yesterday, the worst of the recession appears to have passed but he warns it’s not time to start celebrating and that there is still “plenty of work to be done.”

“I think what happened is the free-fall in the economy seems to have stopped and we’re — I guess the analogy (is) there are some glimmers of sun shining through the trees, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Orszag.

The Budget Chiefs’ statements yesterday seem to be cautious and also somewhat of a contradiction considering that the current administration is preparing to revise its budget projections as a result of sky-rocketing unemployment rates. Most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that Americas unemployment rate rose to 8.9% in April and that since the beginning of the recession, in December 2007, America has lost 5.7 million jobs.

While some signs suggest the economy is improving there just doesn’t appear to be enough substance to conclude that we’re on the upturn, not yet.

Perhaps Orszag is right and the sun is beginning to glimmer through the trees—but the light only reveals the wreckage of the financial tsunami we’ve endured over the past eighteen months. It’s eerily similar to staring at New Orleans the day after the levee broke saying “well, at least it can’t get worse.”