Feb 23, 2017

Mnuchin's ambitious 3% growth plan

Evan Vucci)/AP

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is hard at work on the Trump Administration's tax plan, which he says could come by August, according to interviews Thursday with the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. Mnuchin says that tax reform, along with other Trump policies, can move the U.S. back to its postwar average of sustained 3% growth. But given a slower-growing population and recent weak productivity growth, economists are skeptical that such a goal is realistic.

The most important thing: Mnuchin tells CNBC that the Administration's economic growth projections will diverge from the Congressional Budget Office's, setting the stage for conflict over the future effects of tax reform. Current Senate rules dictate that to use the budget reconciliation process — which would enable tax reform to be passed with 51 votes — a bill must be at least deficit neutral over 10 years. How optimistically the CBO and the Joint Economic Committee projects the effect of Trumps policies on growth and therefore tax receipts will be a decisive factor in the composition of tax reform.

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Trump says RBG and Sotomayor should recuse themselves from his cases

President Trump at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted during his India visit late Monday that Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg should "recuse themselves" from cases involving him or his administration.

Why it matters: The president's criticism of the liberal justices comes after he attacked the judge overseeing the case of his longtime advisor Roger Stone, who was sentenced last Thursday to 4o months in prison for crimes including lying to Congress and witness tampering.

Deadly clashes erupt in Delhi ahead of Trump's visit

Rival protesters over the Citizenship Amendment Act in Delhi, India, on Monday. Photo: Yawar Nazir/ Getty Images

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for calm Tuesday as deadly clashes erupted in the city's northeast between supporters and opponents of India's controversial new citizenship law.

Why it matters: Per the BBC, a police officer and six civilians "died in the capital's deadliest day" since last year's passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act — which allows religious minorities but excludes Muslims from nearby countries to become citizens if they can show they were persecuted for their religion — hours before President Trump and members of the U.S. first family were due to visit the city as part of their visit to India.

Go deeper: India's citizenship bill continues Modi's Hindu nationalist offensive

South Carolina paper The State backs Buttigieg for Democratic primary

Democratic presidential candidate and former South Bend Pete Buttigieg speaks at an event in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

South Carolina newspaper The State endorsed former Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday night for the state's Democratic primary.

Why it matters: It's a welcome boost for Buttigieg ahead of Tuesday's Democratic debate in South Carolina and the state's primary on Saturday.