Career budget examiners and branch chiefs at the Office of Management and Budget are becoming more and more concerned that their analytical skills are getting rusty because of the nonstop push for developing new versions of the actual budget numbers (the ones nobody really understands).
The 1982 budget wars began the day President Reagan took office, and were not over until he signed the continuing resolution Tuesday. In the meantime, OMB analysts have been busy pushing buttons on calculators instead of visting federal offices in the field, brushing up on contacts and checking out programs.
An internal study was ordered after the reconciliation battle in July to see if the OMB was properly organized to handle its expanded role as an advocate of the president's program as well as an analyst of departmental budgets. An early draft of the report found a clear split in perceptions between the career OMB types, most of whom toil in the New Executive Office Building, and the political appointees, who work in the Old EOB next door to the White House.
The political appointees thought everything had gone great. The careerists weren't quite comfortable with the expanded role. "Some of the sharper edges in that report have been sanded down in later drafts," an insider said.