Asked on Sunday whether the Obama administration's budget proposal was, as posited by Sen. Lindsey Graham, a "scary" idea, OMB Director Peter Orszag did something unique for Democratic administrations: he cited Ronald Reagan.
"Well, as Ronald Reagan once put it, there they go again," said the president's budget czar during an appearance on Face the Nation. "We've had eight years of one approach -- didn't work. We're offering a new approach. Let's look at what the Republicans are putting on the table. The senior Republican on the House Budget Committee has put forward a plan that includes $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, a Medicare program -- when you turn 65, you'd be handed a check for 80 percent of the cost of health care and then you're on your own -- and a Social Security plan in which your Social Security funds would be invested in the stock market. I'm not making this stuff up. That is their alternative plan. I think they should come on this show, offer a detailed alternative to what we're talking about and I'll let the American people evaluate the two ways forward."
The calling out of the GOP for a lack of substantive budget proposal is something that Orszag repeated during an appearance on CNN, also on Sunday.
Later in the CBS segment, House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio replied to the OMB director's challenge, saying that "American families are tightening their belt, but they don't see government tightening its belt."
A Newsweek poll released Friday found that Americans mostly agree with Orszag's charge, with 58 percent of Americans, including 42 percent of Republicans, saying that the GOP doesn't actually have an alternative economic plan.
Ironically, around the same time Orszag was channeling the Gipper, conservative columnist David Brooks was appearing on ABC This Week, chastising Republicans in Congress for a damaging obsession with Reagan-era politics.