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Can’t Obama Find an Honest Man For Treasury Secretary?

News reports indicate that President Obama will appoint White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew to replace Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury. The Associated Press applauds Obama’s choice, telling us that Lew is a “pragmatic liberal” who “is well-liked in Washington by both Democrats and Republicans.” What the AP doesn’t tell us is that Lew has made signal contributions to the culture of lies, dishonesty and lack of transparency that characterizes the Obama administration.

When Lew was Obama’s Director of OMB, he testified before Congressional committees on Obama’s budget proposals. Both in that testimony and as a representative of the Obama administration on news programs, Lew propagated one bald-faced lie after another. Like this one:

Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.

In fact, President Obama’s budget added at least $600 billion to the deficit every year, even on the rosy assumptions that it incorporated, which is why no member of Congress would vote for it. Lew was just making it up, deliberately lying to the American people. He also claimed that the reason the Democratic Senate hadn’t adopted a budget is that it was being filibustered by Republicans. This falsehood was repeated multiple times on national television, including this exchange:

Again, this was a brazen lie. Budget resolutions cannot be filibustered, and the decision to go four years without adopting a budget has been the Democrats’ alone.

We are entering the worst fiscal crisis since the Civil War. Goofy ideas, like minting a trillion-dollar platinum coin to stave off impending budget disaster, are being floated by people who should know better. It is important, at this critical juncture, that the American people have confidence in the integrity of our currency and in the Department of the Treasury. For Obama to nominate as Secretary a shameless, partisan liar like Jack Lew is a slap in the face to the American people.

Earlier today, Senator Jeff Sessions released a statement on Lew’s nomination that said in part:

Jack Lew must never be Secretary of Treasury. His testimony before the Senate Budget Committee less than two years ago was so outrageous and false that it alone disqualifies…. His original statement, to a national television audience, was as follows:

Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.

To “look the American people in the eye” and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during my entire time in Washington…

It’s time for a Secretary of Treasury to look the American people in the eye and lay out an economic plan for America that will end our debt path that has endangered our future and which will find support among the American people and the world’s financial community. Far from being a positive force towards this essential good, Mr. Lew has given priority to the political interests of the President, in whose White House inner circle he has now served for several years.

The Senate should not confirm Jack Lew. To do so would be to rubber-stamp the worst excesses of the most dishonest administration in memory.

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