The Selective Deficit Hawk

By Mike Tanglis

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Introduction

When President Donald Trump selected South Carolina Congressman Michael “Mick” Mulvaney to be his budget director, many people were puzzled by the choice. As noted in the New York Times, Mulvaney had been known as a “fierce advocate of deep spending cuts.” Mulvaney had been– and still is – commonly been referred to as “fiscal hawk.”

Many wondered why Trump – the self-proclaimed “king of debt” – would pick someone like Mulvaney as his budget director. But a more detailed look at Mulvaney’s time as in Congress and areview of his roughly 100 days of service in the Trump administration shows that Mulvaney’shatred of deficits is situational.

While Mulvaney has no doubt been passionate about reducing the nation’s deficit and debt at times, he has also been selective about when the debt is important and who should bear the brunt of reducing it.

Further, now that he is the Trump administration’s budget director, an important question arises: How long should Mulvaney be given credit for past “hawkishness” as a member of Congress when as budget director he advocates for legislation that appears to be the antithesis of what he said he stood for?