Looking through a recent jobs report, Mick Mulvaney asked his aide for help, the Washington Examiner’s Alex Pappas wrote in the opening lines of a profile on President Donald Trump’s budget director. Mulvaney, who runs the Office of Management and Budget, couldn’t find the cross section showing government jobs:
As Mick Mulvaney takes a seat at the long wooden table in his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, he yells out to an aide about the jobs report just released by payroll processor ADP.
"I can't find the subset for government jobs," the president's budget director says. "Could you find that, please?"
It’s an unintentionally revealing anecdote about the man who constructed Trump’s budget proposal. Because Mulvaney’s aide would inevitably come up short.
ADP, a payroll processor that partners with Moody's Analytics to produce monthly jobs numbers, only reports on the private sector. Mulvaney couldn’t find the “subset for government jobs” because there is no subset for government jobs. There are subsets for small, midsize, and big private business, and cross sections for different industry types.
The average person might not know this, but the average person isn’t in charge of the federal budget — and, by extension, implementing the president’s agenda.
This isn’t the first gaffe Mulvaney — a former US representative — has made. His budget proposal to Congress appeared to make a $2 trillion accounting error, double-counting the economic benefits from tax reform. That was a mistake so “egregious” according to Larry Summers, that the former Treasury secretary and National Economic Council director said it was “a logical error of the kind that would justify failing a student in an introductory economics course.”
It’s no secret that Trump’s administration has been on a steep learning curve given the number of inexperienced appointees to high-level positions. Mulvaney admitted it himself, but added that he thinks he has been quick to get up to speed: "There is clearly a learning curve when you move into any new job, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got," he told the Examiner.
But Mulvaney was a US representative for South Carolina for nearly six years before being appointed to the Trump administration and calls himself a “policy wonk and government junkie.” Just not a jobs data junkie, perhaps.