Budget Director Mulvaney Admits No Hope "To Balance The Budget This Year"

Tyler Durden's picture

Appearing on Meet the Press earlier this morning with the always condescending, well at least if he's interviewing a Republican guest, Chuck Todd, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, said there's no hope of achieving a balanced budget this year.  Of course, that should hardly come as a surprise to almost anyone other than the suddenly fiscally conservative Chuck Todd. 

“No, we won’t be able to balance the budget this year, but we’re working on trying to get it to balance within the ten-year budget window, which is what Republicans in the House and the Senate have traditionally done the last couple of years."

A smirking Chuck Todd also pressed Mulvaney regarding his thoughts on raising the debt ceiling with a series of 'gotcha' questions:

Todd:  "Debt ceiling.  We hit it on Friday.  Extraordinary measures by the Treasury Secretary will mean a couple more months.  You were a tough nut to crack on the debt ceiling when you were Congressman Mulvaney.  Why should people who were like minded with you who basically said 'hey look, I'll give you that debt ceiling but I want real cuts, I want real deficit reduction, I want a real plan.'  I think at one point you said I'll raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a balanced budget.  You're not going to be making that ask this time, are you?"


Mulvaney:  "I have voted to raise the debt ceiling before as most people in Congress have.  Traditionally, you go back to the 1920's and 1930's, the debt ceiling debate has been used to try and step back and say 'why do we have a deficit problem, why do we have a debt problem and how can we fix it.'  So we'll be coming forward with ideas to raise the debt ceiling but at the same time try to address some of those long-term reasons that we have the debt in the first place."

Meanwhile, Mulvaney took a shot of his own saying that Trump’s vision for the budget is consistent with his comments on the presidential campaign trail and that “He’s trying to do something that politicians are not very famous for, which is actually following through on his promises."

* * *

For those who missed it, here is our previous summary of Trump initial "skinny budget" proposal:

Today at 7am, Trump released his "skinny budget", his administration's first federal budget blueprint revealing the President's plan to dramatically reduce the size of the government. As previewed last night, the document calls for deep cuts at departments and agencies that would eliminate entire programs and slash the size of the federal workforce. It also proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, which the White House says will be offset by the other cuts.

“This is the ‘America First’ budget,” said White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who made a name for himself as a spending hawk before Trump plucked him for his Cabinet, adding that “if he said it in the campaign, it’s in the budget.”

In a proposal with many losers, the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department stand out as targets for the biggest spending reductions. Funding would disappear altogether for 19 independent bodies that count on federal money for public broadcasting, the arts and regional issues from Alaska to Appalachia. Trump's budget outline is a bare-bones plan covering just "discretionary" spending for the 2018 fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It is the first volley in what is expected to be an intense battle over spending in coming months in Congress, which holds the federal purse strings and seldom approves presidents' budget plans.

Trump wants to spend $54 billion more on defense, put a down payment on his border wall, and breathe life into a few other campaign promises. His initial budget outline does not incorporate his promise to pour $1 trillion into roads, bridges, airports and other infrastructure projects.  The budget directs several agencies to shift resources toward fighting terrorism and cybercrime, enforcing sanctions, cracking down on illegal immigration and preventing government waste.

The White House has said the infrastructure plan is still to come.

That said, Congress controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, is likely to reject some or many of his proposed cuts with some republicans calling the budget "dead on arrival." Some of the proposed changes, which Democrats will broadly oppose, have been targeted for decades by conservative Republicans. Moderate Republicans have already expressed unease with potential cuts to popular domestic programs such as home-heating subsidies, clean-water projects and job training.

Trump is willing to discuss priorities, said Mulvaney. "The president wants to spend more money on defense, more money securing the border, more money enforcing the laws, and more money on school choice, without adding to the deficit," Mulvaney told a small group of reporters during a preview on Wednesday. "If they have a different way to accomplish that, we are more than interested in talking to them," Mulvaney said.

The defense increases are matched by cuts to other programs so as to not increase the $488 billion federal deficit. Mulvaney acknowledged the proposal would likely result in significant cuts to the federal workforce. "You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it," Mulvaney said.

A visual summary of the proposed budget changes is shown below, courtesy of Reuters:

The biggest losers:

Trump asked Congress to slash the EPA by $2.6 billion or more than 31 percent, and the State Department by more than 28 percent or $10.9 billion. Mulvaney said the "core functions" of those agencies would be preserved. Hit hard would be foreign aid, grants to multilateral development agencies like the World Bank and climate change programs at the United Nations.

Trump wants to get rid of more than 50 EPA programs, end funding for former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and cut renewable energy research programs at the Energy Department. Regional programs to clean up the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay would be sent to the chopping block.

Community development grants at the Housing Department - around since 1974 - were cut in Trump's budget, along with more than 20 Education Department programs, including some funding program for before- and after- school programs. Anti-poverty grants and a program that helps poor people pay their energy bills would be slashed, as well as a Labor Department program that helps low-income seniors find work.

Long reviled by conservatives, the Internal Revenue Service would get a $239 million cut, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s request for more funding. The Education Department would receive $1.4 billion to invest in public charter schools and private schools, even as its overall budget is cut by 14 percent. But other numbers appear to contradict some of Trump’s top priorities. One of his campaign pledges was to work to cure diseases, but the National Institutes of Health will reportedly see $5.8 billion slashed from its budget.

Trump calls for a 13 percent cut to the Transportation Department, which would ostensibly play a big role in Trump’s promised infrastructure overhaul. That includes $500 million from the TIGER grant program, which provides funding for road and bridge projects.

Trump's rural base did not escape cuts. The White House proposed a 21 percent reduction to the Agriculture Department, cutting loans and grants for wastewater, reducing staff in county offices and ending a popular program that helps U.S. farmers donate crops for overseas food aid.

And the winners

White House officials looked at Trump's campaign speeches and "America First" pledges as they crunched the numbers, Mulvaney said. "We turned those policies into numbers," he said, explaining how the document mirrored pledges to spend more on the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, veterans' health care, the FBI, and Justice Department efforts to fight drug dealers and violent crime.

The Department of Homeland Security would get a 6.8 percent increase, with more money for extra staff needed to catch, detain and deport illegal immigrants. Trump wants Congress to shell out $1.5 billion for the border wall with Mexico in the current fiscal year - enough for pilot projects to determine the best way to build it - and a further $2.6 billion in fiscal 2018, Mulvaney said.

The estimate of the full cost of the wall will be included in the full budget, expected in mid-May, which will project spending and revenues over 10 years. Trump has vowed Mexico will pay for the border wall, which the Mexican government has flatly said it will not do. The White House has said recently that funding would be kick-started in the United States.

The voluminous budget document will include economic forecasts and Trump's views on "mandatory entitlements" - big-ticket programs like Social Security and Medicare, which Trump vowed to protect on the campaign trail.

“There is no question this is a hard-power budget,” said Mulvaney. “It is not a soft-power budget.”

The budget requests $1.5 billion to detain and remove undocumented immigrants, and $314 million to hire 500 new Border Patrol officers and 1,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

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Looney's picture


Until the “Balanced Budget” Constitutional amendment is enacted, this shit will go on unabated.

Oh, and the “Congressional Term Limits”, too.


Latina Lover's picture

Mulvany is such the pessimist. You just need to think outside of the box.

We should honor the Neocons wish,  launch a pre emptive nuclear strike against Russia,then  we will balance the budget.  Washington will be a smoking hole,  NYC will be a sheet of glass, while california falls into the ocean after a few monster nukes hit the San Andreas. Practically no one will be left to collect benefits, no politicians to steal money, no SJW's demanding a free ride, hence the balanced budget.

FrozenGoodz's picture

But at least we've got hope for TrumpCare, though minimal. The wall in the middle of the desert, if we get that we win!

Miss Informed's picture

TrumpCare! Hahaha! He don't care at all!

cue in cue's picture
cue in cue (not verified) Miss Informed Mar 20, 2017 7:42 AM

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Déjà view's picture

Patience...there is always 'NEXT' year...

~©ub Fans

Capitalist With A Razor's picture

Mulvany is such the pessimist


He's also a DC Jesuit, for those in the peanut gallery keeping score.



Bay of Pigs's picture

Yeah, what does Chuck Dodd think of term limits?

What an asshole he is.

Arnold's picture

Let's be Frank here....

Ghordius's picture

yes, let's be frank, here

not even one of the posters here that moan about the US unbalanced budget are ever seen in defense of european countries in the EU trying to balance theirs

if it happens in Europe, it's bad, and Austerity, and sadomasochistic, and socialistic, to boot, and whatever

Singelguy's picture

There hasn't been any significant austerity. Global debt has increased by $28 Trillion since the financial crisis of 2008. Sadly the debt is now too huge to ever be paid off and the public will not accept the cuts in government spending and the hardships it will bring in order to balance the budget, never mind paying off the debt already incurred. It all has to crash and burn first.

Ballin D's picture

Weren't you the guy who was butthurt about Greek austerity a few years back?

thetruthhurts's picture

It is always "10 years"......

orangegeek's picture

“No, we won’t be able to balance the budget this year, but we’re working on trying to get it to balance within the ten-year budget window, which is what Republicans in the House and the Senate have traditionally done the last couple of years."


Trump is notorious for gaming the fake news media.  Watch what happens by the end of the year.



hibou-Owl's picture

You haven't got ten years mate!

Doug Eberhardt's picture

We already have a balanced budget that Ryan and the Dems agreed to. It called for 9 more years of adding to the National Debt and the 10th year coming in under budget (balanced). This is lunacy but it is actually true. Oh, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) actually called for zero projected inflation in the years to come. 

No accountability as they keep raising the debt ceiling and pouring more money into the military. 

If only we all could keep raising our own debt ceilings and keep partying like it's 1999...

Veruca Salt's picture

Roll up, roll up! See the greatest dog and pony show on earth!!

Last of the Middle Class's picture

something about a 10 trillion dollar hamburger for which I will gladly pay you next Thursday.

To Hell In A Handbasket's picture

Balance budget? About as likely as bacon sandwiches at an ultra-orthodox Jewish wedding. The money printing and Ponzi scheme has a long way to go yet. The war business needs its profits from somewhere. Who better than the fucked up the arse taxpayer?

1stepcloser's picture

There is no hope to ever balance the budget...just wait for higher interest rates folks

Miss Informed's picture

Balance the budget? The guys that throw $55 billion at the military that they don't even know what do with? But they are willing to defund PBS. Throw "Sesame Street" under the bus, they did do that.

Jayda1850's picture

The cognitive dissonance is astounding. Trump believers are cheering all these cuts, but we're still going deeper in the hole spending extra billions on the most bloated military in the world. I guess "America First" means gutting domestic programs while adding even more to our deficit by growing the MIC overseas. And people are dumb enough to eat this shit up.

Ghordius's picture

+1, but 55bn more is just nearly as much as Russia spends in total

besides, Washington wants us, in europe, to spend the whole 2% of GDP, so that we don't spend only three times more then Russia but something like five times more then Russia

and... the misinformed even believe that there is a kind of "Nato kitty" where we refuse to pay in. it's probably the same kind of people that never wonder that recent wars are often started when ammo stocks overflow and nobody knows where to store them

what would President/General Eisenhower say to all that? Told You So? You Were Warned?

billwilson2's picture

trump following through on promises .... HAHAHAHAHAHA. Best joke iof the year.

HoserF16's picture

Balance Debt with more Debt (War).

earleflorida's picture

instead of always using the '10 year cycle', why not just say.. the next generation 

RedBaron616's picture

The Repulicrats will NEVER balance the budget and anyone who believes they EVER will also believes in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Remember all the GOP crying about the Deficit and National Debt when the GOP were in the minority? Funny how all that angst suddenly disappeared, isn't it? Crooks ALL OF THEM! America, wake up and vote for someone who will actually keep their word. The Republicrats have proven they are in it for nothing but raw power.

earleflorida's picture

yet, here's another way of balancing the budget--- enroll the entire fucking population into the military. therefore the entire budget doesn't have to be fix'd... for the budget will have been a fallacious non`sequitur snipe`hunt--- a fourth demension machiavellian, `menage et`trois'?

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Just like Theresa May's Article 50 (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-20/theresa-may-will-trigger-articl...) about to become "reality"...


FreeShitter's picture

The chairs on this titanic are getting filled....hedge accordingly bitches!

agstacks's picture

..With all the true cuts scheduled in years 8-10. Yawn. I have seen this one before. 

Spungo's picture

This budget is a disagrce. We don't need a bigger military. We also don't need 1/3 of the EPA to be cut. 

ZD1's picture

Correct, we don't need the 1/3 of the EPA to be cut, we need 100 percent cut. 


Send the eco-facists packing. 

numapepi's picture

You mean the republicans are going to actually pass a budget? I remember a few years ago when passing an actual budget couldn't be done... by a democrat congress.

Here are a few thoughts...

As to the cuts... they are no where near deep enough. The EPA, Energy and Education departments should be GONE! Totally and without remorse. The Department of Agriculture and BLM should be paired way back.

Disentangle ourselves from all those foreign escapades and focus on defense.

Eliminate regulations like a rectum eliminates waste.

Eliminate the Patriot act entirely, along with returning this representative republic back to it's Constitution.

Most of all... start the debate about a Fourth Branch, to force the elite to follow our Constitution to the letter and their own laws as well. That would have a "yuuugely" beneficial effect on not only the US but the planet.

moneybots's picture

Budget Director Mulvaney Admits No Hope "To Balance The Budget This Year"


No one is balancing the budget- PERIOD.


Clinton was hounded by republicans to balance the budget, then when republicans had the House, Senate and White House, Cheney said that Reagan proved deficits don't matter. Deficits ran to 500 billion. It is all a political game.

The debt ceiling was extended until after the election. The spigot was open wide in 2016, an election year. It is all a political game.

Now the debt ceiliing has been hit again and the government is running down cash accounts in advance of the up coming political game over the next raising of the debt ceiling.

Obama talked of "paying down the debt." The debt continued to rise and was never paid down a single dime. It is all a political game.


“No, we won’t be able to balance the budget this year, but we’re working on trying to get it to balance within the ten-year budget window..."

There is no ten year window. The republicans hounded Clinton to balance the budget. Clinton left office in 2001 and the republicans immediately made excuses for running 500 billion dollar deficits. There is no intention by either political party to balance the budget. The budget is not going to balance in 10 years, any more than it balanced 10 years after republicans took over congress in 1994.

It is all a political game.

whosyerdaddy's picture

I am not anti-military. The 54B Defense increase could be found in by eliminating waste in that department. Anyone remember the 25B that disappeared from the Baghdad airport? What most do not understand is that with the current fiat digitized "money" the "black ops" Defense/Intelligence budgets are unlimited and unaccounted for. By the way, those shenanigans would make kindly Ms. Yellen a war criminal.