- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2009

President Obama’s real view of government transparency was put on display this week.

On Monday, the administration delayed the release of the traditional midyear White House budget review until Congress takes its annual August vacation. Though not unprecedented, Mr. Obama’s move should raise eyebrows as he pushes lawmakers to commit to a massive increase in government health care spending by the end of next week. If released on schedule, budget information — which surely shows more red ink than predicted — would endanger the president’s expensive plans for government health care.

It’s obvious the president wants to hide his numbers because the economic picture isn’t rosy. The White House already projected the federal deficit will exceed $1.8 trillion this year, and growing unemployment will mean even less tax revenue.

Decreases in capital gains taxes because of low corporate income and Wall Street performance also will keep government coffers below earlier projections. Spending pressure can be added to these revenue problems. The recession is putting a strain on entitlement spending as more out-of-work Americans turn to unemployment, welfare and Medicaid for assistance.

The one thing we won’t see are meaningful spending cuts to address the budget crisis. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that information was still being compiled regarding Mr. Obama’s April 10 challenge to his Cabinet secretaries to cut $100 million in spending within 90 days. That’s from a federal budget of more than $3 trillion. The minuscule challenge was spun as proof of Mr. Obama’s commitment to fiscal discipline, which is difficult to take seriously in the face of his $787 billion unfunded stimulus package and push for costly government health care and cap-and-trade legislation.

Hiding from the truth won’t make it go away. This administration is digging a hole that it will be hard for America to climb out of. If Mr. Obama were serious about transparency, he would open up about the fiscal realities the nation faces as well as the real cost of his agenda.

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