DANGEROUSLY CONFUSED…. The House Republican leaders’ pre-recession mindset is so overwhelming, their ignorance isn’t just embarrassing, it’s frightening.

House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio, appearing after Orszag on “Face the Nation,” replied: “American families are tightening their belt, but they don’t see government tightening its belt. And I think we can get through this year and lead by example, and show the American people that the government can go on a diet as well.” […]

On CNN, House Republican Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia said: “Director Orszag and others say, look, we’ve inherited these trillions dollars of deficits. Well, if you’ve got a situation like that, how in the world should you be going and make it worse? Families are not doing that.”

I know there are people who take these guys seriously. I just don’t know why. When it comes to economic policy, two of the top Republican policymakers in the federal government are not only in flat-earth territory, they can’t imagine why anyone would have the audacity to think the planet is round.

In case there’s any lingering confusion here, publius recently explained: “The micro-considerations of an individual family or business has nothing much to do with what governments need to do to get the larger economy moving again. Even worse, it’s often affirmatively harmful to adopt microeconomic solutions to macroeconomic problems.”

It’s only fair to describe Boehner’s and Cantor’s policy prescription, to borrow David Brooks’ word, as insane. It’s my sincere hope that the House Minority Leader and Minority Whip know full well what they’re saying is ridiculous, because given a choice, I’d much prefer shameless dishonesty to abject stupidity.

It was, by the way, nice to see OMB Director Peter Orszag pushing back a bit on the Sunday shows.

“I would urge you to invite the Republicans on this show and ask for their specifics, and then compare them head-to-head,” Orszag told John King, anchor of CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Because we are proposing a change in course in which we are not only fiscally responsible, but we are investing in education, we are investing in energy, and we’re investing in health care.”

Orszag also declared: “We’ve been down a path that has not been working. We’re proposing a change in course. And with regard to the criticisms, it’s almost like, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘there they go again.’”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.