On Thursday night, the Senate confirmed my nomination to be the Director of OMB, and yesterday was the start of my first week in the job.
I wanted to take a minute to say how great it is to back at OMB and to join the talented team here that is already hard at work producing a Budget for 2012. Many of the people I am working with are old friends from my previous time spent at OMB, and many more are new colleagues. I look forward to getting to know everyone in the busy weeks and months ahead. I also want to thank everyone at OMB for their support during the confirmation process, and in particular, I am grateful to Jeff Zients and Rob Nabors for their leadership during the transition period.
The fiscal and economic situation we face today is very different than what we faced the last time I served as OMB Director. A series of policy choices and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression present us with a very different set of challenges than those posed by the forecast of surpluses at the end of the 1990’s. Now, we must put our nation back on a sustainable fiscal course in the medium-term and shore up our fiscal position for decades to come while spurring job creation and boosting the competitiveness of the US in the global economy. And while we should aspire not to waste taxpayer dollars regardless of whether the budget is in surplus or deficit, the management of the federal government is particularly important during lean times. That is why we must make sure every dollar we spend has the desired impact and makes a difference.
As the President has said, it will take tough choices – and putting partisan differences aside -- in order to do what is right for our country today and for our children and grandchildren in the years ahead. I look forward to working – as I have throughout my career -- collaboratively across partisan and ideological divides with all those committed to taking constructive steps to rejuvenating our nation’s economy and its fiscal standing.
Finally, I am new to blogging, but I recognize how OMBlog has become an important tool to communicate directly with the public about what the Administration is doing across a wide range of issues – and to dive deeply into some matters that may be only of interest to real budget wonks. So as I get settled, I look forward to using this platform as a way to keep you informed and share details about our continued progress.
Jack Lew is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget