White House staff pushed to make overly positive projections for economic growth: report
President Donald Trump made a lot of promises on the campaign trail, particularly around economic issues. “Make America Great Again,” the slogan that powered the Trump campaign, was premised around bringing blue collar work back to the US and reforming programs like the Affordable Care Act.
But now that the Trump administration is in power, reality is starting to set in. And in response, White House staff appear to be making unrealistic projections for economic growth, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The numbers laid out in preliminary growth forecasts depend on gross domestic product growth of 3% and 3.5% per year. But in the past decade, the economy has grown by 2%. It’s not clear how the administration derived their numbers, but sources familiar with the discussions told the Wall Street Journal that they’re far rosier than the forecasts of independent economists.
“It is awfully hard to get to 3%. I don’t know where a number like that would come from,” Dale Jorgenson, a Harvard economics professor, told the WSJ. The economist’s far more muted prediction is 1.8% annual growth. And the Congressional Budget Office has come up with similar numbers.
As Vox points out, it’s not uncommon for incoming Presidents to come out with overly optimistic projections. But what’s uncommon is the large gap between the White House forecast and the numbers generated by independent economists—as well as the fact that staffers are angry enough to leak to the Wall Street Journal.