Well, not exactly in those words, but the General Accounting Office has issued a report that confirms what I've been saying for years: Elaine Chao and her staff played with numbers regularly in order to make Bush's pro-corporate economic policies look like they were working even as the nation's financial situation was decaying like meat that had been left in the sun. In this specific case, it was to make privatization look a lot more economical than it actually was. (Via Avedon)
President George W. Bush's Labor Department misled Congress in an effort to prove outsourcing jobs to private companies was more efficient than assigning the jobs to government employees, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Monday.
The report (pdf here) found that the Department used fictional projected numbers to improve "savings reports" -- even when real numbers were already available. And when the government did find private firms to take a government job, that employee generally was either reassigned to another task with the same title or promoted.
The effort was called "competitive sourcing," aimed to increase government efficiency by having federal and private organizations compete for providing services. While part of a federal government approach since 1955, the Bush Administration has made the approach a key element of the President's Management Agenda under the Office of Management and Budget.
An investigation revealed, however, that the Labor Department -- under direction from Bush budget officials -- deliberately withheld information about true costs.
According to the report, the Department of Labor "excluded a number of substantial costs in its reports to Congress -- such as the costs for precompetition planning, certain transition costs and staff time and post competition review activities -- thereby understanding the full costs of this contracting approach."
The report noted that this approach was consistent with "guidance" given by the Administration's Office of Management and Budget.
Of course it was. Bush's first OMB Director was Mitch Daniels, an ex-Big Pharma exec, who, as Salon's Brendan Nyhan pointed out as early as Feb '02, had a teensy-weensy problem or two with, you know, facts.
Mitch Daniels was an unusual choice to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Bush White House. A former political operative and pharmaceutical executive, he was tapped for the position last year despite a lack of experience in the intricacies of the federal budget. Since then, Daniels has become a key figure in the administration, helping design policies and pressing publicly for their enactment.
His tenure is significant for more than his political success. It is another sign of the importance P.R. tactics play in American politics. The OMB director -- once a budget expert -- is now an operative chosen for his political skills, particularly his ability to sell the administration's economic proposals in the media. In August, Daniels admitted as much, telling the Wall Street Journal that "[t]o the extent I bring anything ... to this job, maybe it's an ability to think about how a product, whether it's Prozac or a president's proposal, is marketed." Predictably, he has displayed a disturbing tendency to make dishonest claims for political advantage on federal budget issues.
So of course Elaine had "guidance" in lying. Mitch was an expert.
If Obama would let the GAO, GSA, and various IG's loose, they'd find a lot of this stuff. It isn't like there are any depts of Bush's administration that didn't lie. And the people who allowed themselves to believe that "the President wouldn't do that" need to see just how extensive the lying was.