With job approval ratings at an all-time low for the Obama administration, a scintilla of good news would be welcome in the White House.
Leave it to the Washington Post to be a seemingly willing accomplice (free subscription log-in required):
The federal deficit is running significantly lower than it did last year, with the budget gap for the first half of fiscal 2010 down 8 percent over the same period a year ago, senior Obama administration officials said Monday.
The officials attributed the results to higher tax revenue and to lower spending than projected on bailing out the financial system. If the trend continues for the rest of the year, it would mean the annual deficit would be $1.3 trillion -- about $300 billion less than the administration's projection two months ago for 2010.
Imagine if you were behind on your mortgage payment when all of a sudden the transmission goes bad on your vehicle. Would you celebrate the fact that instead of paying $2,500 for car repairs, the tab came to "only" $2,000, all the while having so many other financial woes?
Clearly, such celebration of "only" a $1.3 trillion budget deficit is a sign of desperation of by an already foundering Democrat party. And even if a fair portion of the American people buy in to such spin, it could still backfire.
By suggesting the deficit may have peaked, administration officials are taking a political gamble. If the favorable number does not hold up in coming months and the budget shortfall surpasses the $1.4 trillion recorded last year, voters in the November midterm elections could punish the Democrats for offering false hope.
One area where the President has been consistent in his rhetoric is to continuously point out the deficits he inherited, specifically laying blame at the feet of the Bush administration's "tax cuts and two wars." Yet the highest budget deficit under the previous administration was around $450 billion. So the aforementioned Obama administration officials are rejoicing over the fact that if the current trend holds, the annual deficit will only be three times the size of the largest shortfall under George W. Bush.
Forgive me if I'm reluctant to share my exuberance.