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 TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report 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 ClintonMost voters say there is too much turnover in Trump administration RNC spokeswoman on 2020 GOP primary cancellations: 'This is not abnormal' Booker dismisses early surveys: 'If you're polling ahead right now, you should worry' 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.