Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Whatever Trump ultimately proposes will be very, very expensive

The Trump White House is already cooking the books

By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer February 20 at 7:55 PM, WashPost

Almost exactly a year ago, I suggested a rule of thumb for evaluating candidates’ economic agendas: The more growth a politician promises, the worse his or her economic plan probably is. Why? Because it suggests they had to make extra-rosy assumptions to get their math to work.

Supercharged growth implies higher tax revenue, as well as lower spending on means-tested programs such as Medicaid and unemployment insurance. As a result, astronomical economic growth is often used to paper over the astronomically large deficits that would result under more realistic assumptions.

As President Trump assembles his fiscal agenda, that rule of thumb is coming in handy once again.

Astonishingly, the White House still hasn’t released details for any of the major economic initiatives Trump promised during the campaign (a “terrific” Obamacare replacement, a top-to-bottom tax overhaul, massive infrastructure investment). But thanks to recent leaks about the administration’s economic book-cooking, we at least know that whatever Trump ultimately proposes will be very, very expensive.

(More here.)

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