Trump hopes ‘MAGAnomics’ makes energy great again

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017

The White House today unveiled a “MAGAnomics” strategy aimed at growing the nation’s economy by 3 percent over the next decade, a resurgence the administration hopes will occur on the backs of new energy projects, less red tape and cuts at key agencies.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal published this morning laying out a strategy for what he called the largest economic revival since the 1980s.

The boost from MAGAnomics — a name that harks back to the president’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan — will result in a $16 trillion gross domestic product rise, $2.9 trillion in federal revenues, and $7 trillion in wages and salaries, said Mulvaney.

He brushed off criticism the White House has received as being “unrealistic,” saying the federal government faced the same pushback in the 1970s before President Reagan took office.

“Ronald Reagan dared to challenge that thinking and steered us to a boom that many people thought unachievable,” Mulvaney wrote.

“In the 7 ½ years following the end of the recession in 1982,” he wrote, “real GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.4%. That is what a recovery looks like, and what the American economy is still capable of achieving.”

Democrats have long criticized what has been called “Reaganomics,” a mixture of tax cuts and spending that skeptics called unsustainable.

Mulvaney’s op-ed release coincided with an appearance with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at the White House with reporters, where Mulvaney and Zinke discussed the agency’s accomplishments under the new administration, an upcoming reorganization and “regulatory relief efforts,” an Interior spokeswoman said.

“At @OMBPress with my old House buddy Director Mick Mulvaney for a round robin with reporters. Talking #MAGAnomics,” Zinke tweeted today. Zinke and Mulvaney used to both serve in the House.

Central to boosting the economy will be the Trump team’s efforts to pave the way for new energy projects stuck in limbo; scrap cumbersome regulations for power plants and pipelines; and, to the extent possible, reduce regulatory spending at agencies like the Department of Energy, U.S. EPA and Interior, said Jeremy Carl, an energy policy researcher at the Hoover Institution.

OMB in recent weeks has continued to ratchet up pressure on agencies to streamline operations and find efficiencies, even as federal programs are pared down and EPA moves forward with hundreds of buyouts this summer.

Given congressional opposition to the White House fiscal 2018 budget, which Mulvaney championed, Carl said he expects “modest and targeted cuts” at energy and environmental agencies alongside the strong anti-red-tape push from OMB.

Key to that effort, he said, is Neomi Rao, whom the Senate recently confirmed to lead OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (E&E Daily, July 11).

“She’s going to be the real powerhouse behind a lot of regulatory reform,” Carl said.

Advancing new energy projects also hinges on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission securing a quorum again, Carl added, and suggested the Trump administration could advance rulemaking to greenlight projects.