Budget hawks bash Trump’s 'ridiculous' plan to erase debt

Budget hawks bash Trump’s 'ridiculous' plan to erase debt
© Greg Nash

Leading budget hawks are soundly rejecting Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE’s claim that he can eliminate more than $19 trillion of national debt in eight years.

“That's ridiculous,” former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who served as the top budget adviser to President George W. Bush, said during a panel hosted by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

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Daniels’s comments were seconded by the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office, Alice Rivlin.

“I’ll tell you a secret: He can’t do it,” said Rivlin, who also led the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMueller’s probe doesn't end with a bang, but with a whimper Mark Mellman: History’s judgment Congress should massively ramp up funding for the NIH MORE.

Trump made the pledge in a Saturday interview with The Washington Post. When asked how he would achieve such a drastic reduction of the deficit, Trump said he wasn’t looking at tax increases.

“I don’t think I’ll need to [raise taxes]. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad,” Trump said.

The same day, Trump’s promise was called “nonsensical” by the Post’s independent Fact Checker blog.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is nonpartisan, has said that Trump’s tax and economics plan would actually drive the debt up to about $38 trillion — nearly double the current level.

Economists across the spectrum have scoffed at Trump’s pledge. To slash $19 trillion from the federal deficit could require cutting the annual $4 trillion budget in half to pay off the country’s debt holders.

Trump’s pledge to eliminate the current debt also doesn’t include the projected increase of nearly $6.8 trillion between 2017 and 2024.

—This post was updated April 5 at 2:46 p.m.