Many Washington politicians aren’t very good with numbers. Somehow we expect more of the budget director — unless it’s Mick Mulvaney.
The Trump administration’s director of the Office of Management and Budget was at it again this weekend, suggesting the budget outline just approved by the Senate isn’t a deficit-buster and that congressional rules discriminate against spending reductions. He also falsely criticized a bipartisan effort in the Senate for a temporary health fix as a giveaway to insurance companies.
This is the same Mr. Mulvaney who in his first budget earlier this year made a $2 trillion miscalculation by double counting. He trashed the Congressional Budget Office when it differed from his dubious numbers. And he has forgotten his crusade, as a South Carolina Tea Party Republican, against federal deficits — even opposing increasing the debt ceiling.
On “Face the Nation,” he looked like a born-again fiscal dove by embracing the Senate budget plan that seeks to pave the way for a big tax cut. He suggested this will produce a gusher of revenue leading to a balanced budget.
He’s wrong on that, too. Outside analysts, like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the Tax Policy Center, estimate that budget would add somewhere between $1.5 trillion and more than $2 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. The administration could alter its tax cut plans to increase or decrease that number but no one believes the deficit will shrink under any scenario.
Mulvaney insisted the administration is still pushing big spending cuts but said it was hamstrung not only by a lack of political will in Congress but also by longstanding rules. The 1974 Budget Act, he contended, “says if you spend $100 last year and $104 this year, we call it a cut.
“I’m not making that up,” he said.