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A Trump adviser's plan for a multitrillion-dollar budget surplus, explained

Missed me? (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Missed me?
(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Speaking at a Pete Peterson Foundation fiscal summit on Wednesday, Donald Trump adviser Sam Clovis said that the Trump campaign's economic program would unleash so much growth that the federal budget surplus would end up between $4.5 trillion and $7 trillion.

How much growth are we talking about?

Clovis did not offer an estimate of exactly how much economic growth he thought the Trump administration would unleash. But the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that given Trump's proposed tax cuts, we would need GDP growth of 10 percent per year to achieve a balanced budget. The kind of surplus Clovis is talking about would, presumably, need growth even higher than that.

Is that remotely realistic?

No. Read this explainer on Jeb Bush's hopelessly optimistic promise of 4 percent annual growth and then recall that 10 is a much higher number than 4.

Is Sam Clovis remotely credible?

No. At the same summit, Clovis said the Tax Foundation is a credible organization but that we shouldn't rely on its estimate of the deficit impact of Trump's tax cuts because it didn't give his plan a "dynamic" score. This is not the case. The Tax Foundation did a dynamic score and said Trump's plan would add about $10 trillion to the deficit over a 10-year time horizon.

Where did Trump find this guy, exactly?

Clovis is an economics professor at Morningside College in Iowa, as well as a Tea Party activist. In 2014, he ran for the Republican Party nomination for Senate but lost to Joni Ernst. He then became the GOP nominee for Iowa state treasurer, but lost to Democrat Michael Fitzgerald. He then became Iowa state director for Rick Perry's short-lived campaign before signing on with Trump.

Way back in August 2015 when nobody was taking Trump seriously, Clovis was tapped as national co-chair of the campaign and senior policy adviser.

Is this really happening?

Yep. Nobody is running against Donald Trump anymore, and he is definitely going to be the Republican Party's nominee for president. His strategy, it seems, is to just put wild lies out there in the media and hope nobody cares. After all, it worked in the primary!

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