Even with dynamic scoring, Donald Trump’s tax plan is likely to lose a ton of money. (And, yes, I am dismissing out of hand Trump’s 6% growth claim. Please.) But Trump isn’t counting entirely on faster economic growth to make the numbers work. As he pointed out in the WSJ yesterday:
Finally, this plan will not add to our deficits or to the national debt. With disciplined budget management and elimination of waste, fraud and abuse, this plan will allow the nation to balance the budget, boost the economy to record levels, clear the backlog of workers sitting at home and begin the process of reducing the debt
I am not sure what all that hugger mugger about “disciplined budget management and elimination of waste, fraud and abuse” means, but it probably doesn’t mean entitlement reform that would reduce future projected spending. As Trump has said, “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut.”
Now keep in mind that even as deficits, debt, and spending are projected to rise, discretionary spending — the usual target of “waste, fraud, and abuse” charges — is projected keep falling as a share of GDP. Also keep in mind that Trump wants to reduce deficits and debt, not just maintain the status quo or current trajectory. And he is going to do all that without touching the fastest growing part of the budget? While also increasing defense and infrastructure spending? Maybe this was the sort of thinking that put those Trump casinos into bankruptcy.
For more on the Trump plan, please check out my new The Week column.