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Trump is running at a high-risk economic experiment (that could go badly)

The White House’s spending priorities for 2018 renege on President Trump’s many promises to lower the deficit and keep it off Medicare and Medicaid spending without cuts. (Jenny Starrs / The Washington Post) President Trump is starting his second year in office with a high-risk strategy: Juicing the U.S. As his latest budget, released Monday , makes clear, Trump wants growth of 3 percent – or more – a year for the next seven years, Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s. Most economists say Trump ‘s economic dream is virtually impossible. The latest Survey of Professional Forecasters Trump’s first term. The United States is in a different place today, many say. The population is much older now, making it more difficult to sustain higher growth, especially since the 1960s . But Trump does not like being told no. He’s made a career out of defying the odds, and his “Trumponomics” recipe of cutting taxes hiking spending is meant to be so much more business investment that productivity can hit record levels. In theory, that would then boost growth and wages further. His budget predicts the longest expansion in US history, with moderate inflation and unemployment falling to 3.7 percent in 2019, the lowest level since 1969. Some economists, however, say downturn hits. By then, the U.S. government would be even deeper in debt with less money to spend to revive the economy. “This is a joke,” said Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “I would love if we had 3 percent growth for two years, let alone seven years, but we have an aging population and there is no plausible story. Friction over these contrasting views of how Trumponomics is likely to cause some of the whiplash stock market . There’s broad agreement that this year looks good. There’s a lot of disagreement about what comes in 2019 and beyond. “The stock market gyrations we’re seeing now may be a foreshadowing of some kind of downturn,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global strategist at Invesco. “It seems likely before the end of 2019, we will probably see some kind of economic slowdown.” Increasingly, Wall Street banks and independent economic researchers are starting to flag the question of the health of the Trump economy, further fueling the belief that a downturn could hit in 2019. The thinking is that the economy is likely to overheat, forcing the Federal Reserve to soon to prevent inflation, where prices rising rapidly on everything from rents to food to gas . Once the Fed starts, it is likely to pull back their spending. “2018 is likely to be good,” said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. “The slowdown may not be necessary in the first half of 2019, but the second half has a bigger drag on the monetary stimulus and the fiscal stimulus wears off.” President Trump repeatedly boasted about stock market gains during his first year in office. (Bastien Inzaurralde / The Washington Post) In a further strike on the Trump economy, Goldman Sachs said the president’s deregulation push is having little to no effect on the economy. “Overall, our results suggest that non-financial deregulation has had a limited impact on the economy to date,” the bank wrote in a report over the weekend. Goldman’s researches on the heels of a Morgan Stanley report last week that looked at what 556 companies are likely to do with their tax savings. The survey found 43 percent intend to fatten dividends and share buybacks. The next most popular of the money is likely to be mergers (19 percent said this). Only 17 percent anticipate more capital and 13 percent think higher wages are likely. A Bank of America survey in August of over 300 companies found similarly pessimistic expectations for how the tax savings would be used. Trump is counting on much of the tax savings going towards business investment. If business spending does not pick up, there is even less likelihood of years of great growth. Capital spending did pick up last year and small business confidence is at its highest levels since the Reagan era, but that optimism has to continue to fuel investment. On the upside for Trump, growth in the predicted experts last year. Americans are feeling the uptick. The latest University Quinnipiac Poll found 70 percent of Americans The economy is “excellent” or “good,” the highest rating since the poll began in 2001. And for the first time in his presidency, more Americans credit Trump with driving the economic gains than train President Barack Obama. But moods can shift quickly, especially if bond yields rise up and the stock market sells off for an extended period of time. Trump’s budget projects a lot more debt in the coming years, an oddity at a time of healthy growth when budgeting back to line. Independent groups like the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget anticipates the deficit will hit $ 1 trillion by next year, a record level at a time when unemployment is so low. The Trump Administration is not that high, but it still anticipates a $ 873 billion deficit this fiscal year and $ 984 billion in 2019. Trump has abandoned his budget to the next decade. Instead, his latest budget runs a deficit every year. “This is a step in the wrong direction,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the right-leaning American Action Forum and an economic adviser to GOP politicians. Even with the large cuts Trump many programs that help the poor , he still is not able to balance the budget. In fact, the budget released Monday has $ 3.7 trillion lower in the first decade than in the first budget projection in May, a seeming admission that the tax cuts would cost to revenue. “Their budget assumes that tax cuts do not pay for themselves,” said Jason Furman, a Harvard professor who was head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, argues the government would bring in more money because of the tax cuts than it would have without them. “As long as we’ve got GDP growing fast … the deficit will be going down,” said Mulvaney, who used to champion balanced budgets as a congressman. The trump administration is on track to return to levels of borrowing not seen since the crisis. While demand from China, Japan and elsewhere in the world is still strong for U.S. government bonds, it’s a gamble. If foreign governments slow down their purchases, yields would likely spike. Trump’s budget assumes borrowing rates for the 10-year Treasury bonds will remain low, even as growth picks up and unemployment falls further. The budget predicts the popular 10-year U.S. Treasury bond will have a 2.6 percent yield this year. At the moment, the yield is 2.8 percent, which is higher than the administration wants. For now, many economic metrics look good. But the Trump Administration is planning for a stronger economy for years to come. Outside economists see a rising possibility of a downturn. Trump is hoping for a Reagan-like economy. He might end up with a President George H.W. Bush, where he has a slowdown come just as he’s campaigning for a second term.

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