What is Trumponomics? The Trump administration now has an answer.
“Sustained 3 percent economic growth,” President Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters Monday in a call previewing the administration’s first comprehensive budget.
The White House has dubbed it “The New Foundation for American Greatness” with an unwritten subtitle: “The Taxpayer-First Budget.”
The budget — to be released Tuesday, touching off what will be many months of congressional deliberation — is the administration’s most ambitious “Trumponomics” proposal to date. It aims to get to 3 percent growth by radically redistributing federal money away from programs for the poor and toward an enormous surge in defense spending and tax cuts.
It proposes cutting $1.7 trillion from anti-poverty programs over the next decade, targeting Medicaid with at least $800 billion in cuts, food stamps with a reported $193 billion in cuts, and disability payments, which Mulvaney says will help get able-bodied people back to work. The budget director says these cuts reflected the “first time in a long time where an administration has been written a budget through the eyes of the people that are actually paying the taxes. So often in Washington I think we only look at the recipient side.”
Many economists are highly skeptical that such reforms could lead to the 3 percent–growth goal, a conclusion that Mulvaney — using one of his boss’s favorite words — described as “sad.” “That assumes a pessimism about America, about the economy, about the people, about its culture, that we just refuse to accept,” he said.
But Mulvaney and Trump will first have to convince members of Congress to approve the budget, which already looks to be an uphill climb. Many Republican members, anxious about Trump’s effect on their re-election chances in 2018, are wary of making radical changes to America’s safety net programs. Trump’s signature is still required on the budget, however, or else the government will shut down at the end of September.
And if there’s one thing we’re certain of, it’s that White House staffers are very uncertain how the volatile president will react should Congress ignore his priorities again.