President Donald Trump's proposed budget intends to slash the funding for many federal agencies, including ones that benefit his most ardent supporters. To his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, that's a very good thing – even if the president doesn't know what exactly he's cutting.
In an interview with CNBC, Mulvaney bragged that he was able to get Trump to cut the Appalachian Regional Commission, which provides grants for infrastructure improvement projects, and also "specifically targets communities affected by job losses in coal mining," according to the Atlantic
"My guess is he probably didn't know what the Appalachian Regional Commission did. I was able to convince him," Mulvaney said.
Mulvaney said he told the president that this wasn't the "best way to help the people of West Virginia."
Harwood asked Mulvaney if the president was aware of the fact that some of his voters would be negatively affected by the cuts proposed in the budget. Mulvaney responded by saying that Trump was "certainly conscious of the people who voted for him" but the main priority is economic growth for everyone.
"What the president will tell you is, 'The best thing I can do for those folks, whether or not they voted for me, is to figure out a way to get 3.5 percent economic growth.'"
Mulvaney also suggested changes to aspects of Social Security may be coming. The changes may specifically target the disability benefits program, which he called a "permanent unemployment program."
"I don't think we've settled yet," Mulvaney told Harwood. "But I continue to look forward to talking to the president about ways to fix that program. Because that is one of the fastest growing programs that we have. It's become effectively a long-term unemployment, permanent unemployment program."
And at the end of the day, Mulvaney is solidly committed to lowering taxes.
"Letting people keep more of their money" was the most effective way of allocating resources, he said.
"Bad spending to me in terms of its economic benefit would be wealth transfer payments, Mulvaney. "It's a misallocation of resources. Infrastructure is sort of that good spending in the middle, where even if you do misallocate resources a little bit, you still have something to show for it. It's tangible; it may help economic growth and so forth."
Also, deficits don't matter to him: "It's a little less important to me if infrastructure adds to the deficit. And I'm really not interested in how tax reform handles the deficit."