Mulvaney hints budget math will rely on economic growth

Mulvaney hints budget math will rely on economic growth

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney hinted Wednesday that President Trump’s budget plan, expected out next week, will rely on hefty growth estimates.

“Folks would never tolerate the tax increases needed to balance the budget, But I wonder if you can do it just on spending,” he said at a meeting of the Federalist Society.

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The way to balance the budget, he added, is “spending restraint and [gross domestic product] growth caught up.”

He added that he expects to face questions about the assumptions and methods used in the budget’s growth projections.

The central legacy the Trump administration is shooting for, he added, is “3 percent sustained economic growth in this country.” Referencing a critical article in the Economist that lamented Trump’s inability to succinctly ascribe an overarching principle to “Trumponomics,” Mulvaney said that 3 percent sustained economic growth was that guiding principle.

Mulvaney declined to say whether there are new revenues expected for the budget, and quipped he had 4,000 pages to review that evening.

Republicans have discussed regulatory reform as a central factor in boosting growth, and Trump has promised a “two-for-one” rule on regulatory spending, by which two old regulations must be purged for every new regulation put in. 

The administration has been criticized for failing to specify metrics for the “two-for-one” rule, and whether it referred to pages of regulations, numbers of regulations, steps in regulations, cost of regulations or another metric.

When asked to specify, Mulvaney said: “It’s both, it’s number of rules and you also layer on top of that that regulatory budget we were talked about, which means you’re gonna add a dollar in you take [a dollar] out.”