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11.30.2008 NewsBytes: Obama jobs… fiscal discipline… and an OMB director blog?

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Two stories that I read on my way back to DC (on Saturday to avoid the Sunday rush — whew!)

LAT: Obama administration jobs

Apparently there are a whole lot of people who are interested in working for the Obama administration. The transition team has received 290,000 applications, and that’s not including all the calls, e-mails andFacebook exchanges that have been flooding in to the Obama staff.

Go-getters seek jobs in Obama administration [LAT, 11.28.2008]

One member of President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team measures meetings by the number of resumes arriving on his BlackBerry.

Another says job-seekers have offered him tickets to Redskins football games, which he has turned down. And yet another has given his mother in Chicago “talking points” to deal with people trying to get to him by going through her.

“People are anxious to figure out every possible avenue in and want to get advice on how to do this,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who has gotten calls asking how to break into the new administration — even though he backed Hillary Rodham Clinton during the presidential primaries.

For people on the receiving end, it’s an unrelenting daily bombardment of resumes and requests to meet for coffee.

“I think it’s wonderful that people want to serve. But for those of us who have to deal with the onslaught, it’s a little overwhelming,” said a senior official with the transition who asked not to be identified for fear it would prompt a further deluge of applicants to his in-box.

So far, the transition team has received 290,000 applications for jobs in the Obama administration through its website — www.change.gov — and officials believe they could wind up with 1 million job-seekers by the time Obama is sworn into office on Jan. 20.

By comparison, before President Bush took office in 2001, he received just 44,000 requests for political jobs. As former President Clinton assumed the White House in 1993, he had received 125,000 applications for jobs.

The problem is that only about 8,000 non-career service positions are available, according to the Plum Book, which lists those jobs.

Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, has been hearing from people he knows and from people Biden knows.

Klain is also making new friends at a rapid pace on Facebook, the social networking website. He’s up to 1,000 friends, and his Facebook page is filled with good wishes on his new assignment.

Read the rest of the story here.

WSJ: Fiscal discipline

Meanwhile, the WSJ reported last week that Team Obama is going to be looking at fiscal discipline… despite the economic stimulus plackage that is now being discussed as high as $700 billion.

Obama Pledges Discipline Even With Stimulus Outlays [WSJ, 11.26.2008, WSJ.com is a paid site]
President-Elect Targets Wasteful Spending As Stimulus Funds Are Set to Strain Budget

President-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday emphasized his commitment to fiscal responsibility, promising that his team would strip the federal budget of all unnecessary spending to help offset large outlays expected for his planned stimulus package.

But Mr. Obama didn’t provide many specifics, and he gave little sense of how he would tackle entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security. Few experts believe the budget deficit can be brought under control without trimming spending on these programs.

President-elect Barack Obama, flanked, by Budget Director-designate Peter Orszag, left, and Deputy Budget Director-designate Rob Nabors, speaks during a news conference in Chicago.

The deficit totaled an estimated $438 billion for fiscal 2008 ended in October, and is expected to surge in 2009 due to a $700 billion government rescue package for the financial sector, among other expenditures. Mr. Obama has pledged to push for a stimulus package to create or save 2.5 million jobs soon after he takes office in January, but he hasn’t provided a cost.

“If we are going to make the investments we need, we also have to be willing to shed the spending that we don’t need,” Mr. Obama said in his second news conference in two days on the economy. “We can’t sustain a system that bleeds billions of taxpayer dollars on programs that have outlived their usefulness or exist solely because of the power of politicians, lobbyists or interest groups.”

It should be noted that Orszag is part of the bloggosphere. As the director of the Congressional Budget Office, he has posted to the CBO director blog.

You can read his farewell message… and more… after the break.

As promised… Orszag’s final blog post as CBO director.

Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes: A final blog entry

Today President-elect Obama announced his intention to nominate me as director of the Office of Management and Budget. I am therefore resigning as director ofCBO and this will be my final blog entry.

I have absolutely loved my time at CBO. CBO is unique because it combines rigor, relevance, and range. Rigor reflects the intellectual integrity of what CBO does. Relevance speaks to the importance of what it does. And range reflects the wide array of topics upon which CBO has something important to say – from national security to labor markets to natural resources, health care, immigration, and the list goes on and on and on. (This blog has also been a special treat: it has provided another way of discussingCBO’s work and some of my own views about the policy world.)

Perhaps most fundamentally, CBO is a reflection of the smart and hard-working but also warm and wonderful people who work here. (If you find it hard to believe that budget analysts and economists can be warm and wonderful, please just take my word for it.) I have worked with many outstanding people in both the public sector and the private sector, and theCBO staff is truly exceptional in its analytical capability and its devotion to the work it does.

I will very much miss CBO, and hope that I will do it proud if I am confirmed by the Senate to assume my new post.

When I was over at FCW, I highlighted Orszag’s blog as one of five blogs worth reading. (See the others here.)

It is probably too strong to say that it is an interesting read — Orszag is a true wonk. As I mentioned back in May, there are entries Implications of a cap-and-trade program and Cyclically adjusted and standardized budget, but I’m guessing many of us will be going through those posts to get insights into how this person may manage.

But wouldn’t it be fascinating if the OMB director had a public blog — talk about transparency.

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Written by cdorobek

November 30, 2008 at 1:46 PM

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