By Isaac Cohen*
Beyond the campaign promises, the moment is approaching for the White House to state how much it expects the US economy will grow in the coming years. The reason is because a federal budget proposal needs to be submitted to the US Congress and the economic growth projections determine the expected levels of revenues, expenditures and indebtedness.
During the campaign, President Donald Trump promised to make the economy grow at an ambitious yearly rate of 4 percent. The incoming Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was more moderate, he said between 3 and 3.5 percent. According to The Wall Street Journal, after the election, this last growth target was presented by the incoming administration, to the staffs of the Treasury Department and the Council of Economic Advisers, to be used as baseline for the preparation of the budget proposal.
Usually, the economic growth projections are prepared by the Council of Economic Advisers. However, this time was different perhaps because the economists of the Council have yet to be appointed by the White House. In any case, the new administration’s projections are more optimistic that those from other agencies. For instance, the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office projects a yearly rate of growth of 1.9 percent between 2021 and 2027, while the long term projection by the central bank is 1.8 percent. During the past decade, the US economy has grown at a yearly average of 2 percent.
*International analyst and consultant. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO and other media. Former Director, UNECLAC Washington.