Popular vote loser Donald Trump's budget director, former House Freedom Caucus maniac Mick Mulvaney, sat down with CNBC's John Harwood to tell some lies and to boast about how he's going to manipulate an ignorant chief executive into doing the extremists' will. Mostly, he wants to kill Social Security, and make sure more money goes from the poor to the rich.
Instructive is Mulvaney's explanation of how he got Trump to break all his promises to the people of West Virginia by getting rid of the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Yeah, and my guess is he probably didn't know what the Appalachian Regional Commission did. I was able to convince him, "Mr. President, this is not an efficient use of the taxpayer dollars. This is not the best way to help the people in West Virginia." He goes, "OK, that's great. Is there a way to get those folks the money in a more efficient way?" And the answer is yes. And that's what's we're going focus on doing.
He exploited Trump's ignorance, gave him a load of bull, and conned him into breaking his promise. So now you get down to the meat of things, Social Security, and how he's going to get Trump to break his promise on that.
MULVANEY: We're working on it right now. He went through the list and said, "No, that's Social Security. That violates my promise. Take that off. That's Medicare. That violates my promise. Take that off."
HARWOOD: Is Social Security Disability on that list?
MULVANEY: I don't think we've settled yet. But I continue to look forward to talking to the president about ways to fix that program. Because that is one of the fastest growing programs that we have. It's become effectively a long-term unemployment, permanent unemployment program.
No, it's not a permanent unemployment program. It's disability insurance people paid into just in case they became disabled. Only about 4 in 10 of applicants end up proving their disability and being enrolled in it. It's also not growing: "The number of SSDI beneficiaries has fallen by 150,000 over the past two years, as demographic and economic pressures on the program have eased. The share of Americans receiving SSDI is expected to remain flat over the next 20 years."
Harwood presses him on the rest of Social Security, asking if he is telling "all of those people like Ryan, other Republicans, the Freedom Caucus in the House, 'Do not think we are ever going to go after main Medicare and main Social Security throughout Donald Trump's presidency'?" Absolutely not, says Mulvaney. He says he's telling them "Look, you go do what you think is best." Implied is the "I'll take care of snowing Trump into doing it."
He's still a Freedom Caucus maniac at heart, still convinced that his way is the only way and that's that. He might be able to get Trump to agree, because when it comes right down to it, the guy just doesn't care enough to argue it. But good luck getting the House and Senate onboard.