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Mnuchin Spins Pre-COVID Path to Debt Reduction

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in January forecast rising debt for the rest of President Donald Trump’s presidency and beyond. Yet, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that before COVID-19 hit, the U.S. was experiencing “extraordinary” economic growth that “would pay down the debt over time.”

Treasury officials say the claim is based on Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget, submitted in early February, which claims to put the federal budget “on a path to a balanced budget in 15 years.”

But that budget assumes economic growth that far exceeds consensus forecasts, including the CBO’s. It also assumes the significant spending cuts in Trump’s budget will be enacted by Congress. In his annual budget proposals, Trump has regularly called for slashing federal spending, only to wind up signing federal budgets from Congress that increase spending.

On “ on Sept. 6, chief by about $6.4 trillion, or 44%, under Trump, rising from $14.4 billion to $20.8 billion. In August, the CBO that the federal deficit was $2.8 trillion in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2020, which began Oct. 1, 2019, largely stemming from spending bills in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

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