Trump's Budget: Rosy or Realistic?

Blog Post
Monday, March 18, 2019

During the latest “Economist Mom” segment on Facing the Future, Diane Lim said that President Trump’s proposed budget is not likely to spark needed fiscal reform efforts.

“I think that those efforts have to start in a bipartisan way in Congress,” said Lim, a principal at the District Economics Group.

She described the proposed budget for Fiscal 2020 as the president’s “policy wish list” and “a starting point” for the administration to communicate its policy goals to Congress.

The Concord Coalition, however, has expressed concern that the administration’s budget plan only adds up through the use of an overly rosy economic scenario and unrealistic proposed cuts that Democratic and even many Republican lawmakers will not support.

“I’m not that pessimistic about Congress being able to come up with some bipartisan ideas,” Lim said. “I just think that they’re not going to get inspiration from the president’s budget.”

Concord Coalition Executive Director Robert L. Bixby also joined the program to discuss Trump’s budget, which he noted was “advisory” and “not something that will go to Congress as a bill.”

The president’s plan sets a goal of balancing the federal budget in 15 years. Bixby said this would “strike many people as not a very ambitious goal.”

Given where we are now, Bixby said, the 15-year goal is reasonable and economically achievable. But he added: “The way they have gone about doing it is not realistic.”

“The things that stand out to me are . . . the so-called baseline on which it’s assumed is based on very, very robust economic growth and the feedback effect that they assume that has on revenues,” Bixby said. “So, this has a very optimistic view of both economic growth and revenues, higher economic growth projections than most neutral forecasters . . . are projecting.”

Hear more on “Facing the Future.” I host the program each week on WKXL, NHTalkRadio.com (N.H.), and it is also available via podcast. Join me and my guests as we discuss issues relating to national fiscal policy with budget experts, industry leaders, elected officials and candidates for public office. Past broadcasts are available here. You can now subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or through RSS.