We’re borrowing money at under 2 percent right now. So he
knows that, he gets that, and he knows why it’s a problem. So it’s not
an ideology, but it’s an understanding that is real and is driving what
we do. But as I said in my Senate testimony, I don’t think you can cut
your way to balance. I don’t think the populace would take it. We’ve
trained people to believe that government is cheaper than it is.
I believe people are not willing to pay for the amount of government they have, but they’re also not willing to give it up as long as
they can borrow to keep it. We cannot cut our
way to balance; the way we get to balance is to
grow. We have spending restraint while the
economy catches up. So, we limit the growth of
the government while we add to the growth of
the economy. That’s how we balanced the
budget in the 1990s and that’s how we’re going
to do it again.
RUSH: I agree. It’s too enormous, there’s no
way you could cut to balance.
MULVANEY: No, it’s 14 percent. Can you
imagine cutting everything across the board 14
RUSH: Not in Washington having people still
RUSH: But the key to that is growth, and this tax
code is going to have to be reformed for there to
be growth — and something is
going to have to be done with
health care financing. The
main thing wrong with health
care, to my layman’s eyes, is
that costs have no relationship
whatsoever to any market forces. If you go to rent a hotel
room, there’s one in your price
range. If you want to buy an
airline ticket, there’s one in
your price range. If you want
to buy a car, there’s one in your price range. When it comes to the
doctor, there’s no relationship to the consumer’s ability to pay what
the price is because it’s all out of whack. Insurance companies,
governments, somebody that you never know is assumed to be paying
for it. Now the premiums are out of sight, the deductibles are out of
sight, and people are facing the consequence of perhaps no health
insurance. If that’s not reformed along with tax reform, all the rest of
this is academic. What are the legitimate chances that this happens?
Because next year is an election year, and you know nothing controversial will happen then.
MULVANEY: Yes. I think that’s the $64,000 question: “Does the
Senate have the ability to pass a difficult piece of legislation?” By
the way, it shouldn’t be that difficult, but we know it is because it’s
health care, which is automatically I guess by definition difficult.
Does the Senate have the ability to do that? We didn’t think the
House did and they finally got there, to their credit. I’m with you,
I don’t know how you run for seven years saying you’re going to
repeal and replace Obamacare and then get the chance to do
exactly that and then don’t do it. I would be hard-pressed to vote for
my Senators again if they don’t vote to do that.
RUSH: Here’s a theory I want to run by you. My theory is that actual
legislation does not originate in Congress anymore, it originates on K
Street with donors and lobbyists. It’s not voters and their preferences
that carry weight in Washington, but rather money interests, donors,
power brokers. Clearly that group doesn’t want any part of Donald
MULVANEY: I’ll never forget when I was in
Congress several years ago, I was meeting with a
lobbyist back home and he showed me a copy of
a bill that dealt with his industry. I said, “Wow,
where did you get that?” He said, “My secretary
just sent it down to me.” After the meeting I
called, at the time, Eric Cantor’s office, to ask if
I could see the official copy of the bill. They said
they didn’t have it yet. Which means the lobby-
ist had the bill before members of Congress did.
So you can imagine where that bill got written.
I do think you’re right — this is what the
President calls “the swamp.” It’s not Republican,
it’s not Democrat, it’s just inside-the-Beltway that
doesn’t like Donald Trump because he is an exis-
tential threat to them. I just hope we have the
energy to continue to take the steps necessary to
drain the swamp, for lack of a better word.
RUSH: Well, you clearly do.
You’re still young.
MULVANEY: I’m 50 next
RUSH: That’s an excellent
point, how many people have
the endurance to put up with
the unceasing opposition,
which gets very personal.
MULVANEY: They will
reach out and say, “You’ll be
gone.” I can’t tell you the
number of old bulls up on the Hill when I was in the House who
just looked at me and said, “Oh, you deficit dogs come around
every now and then, and get all upset, and then you go away and I
am still here — and I will be here after you’re gone.” That is an
attitude in Washington, D.C., there’s no question.
RUSH: [Laughs] Right. Well, look, I appreciate your time, you’ve
been very forthcoming and I really appreciate it.
MULVANEY: All I ask for, Rush, is if you could sign a copy and send
it to me, my dad would absolutely have a heart attack if I gave him
that for his birthday.
RUSH: I would be honored to do that.
MULVANEY: Rush, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this. This is
the highlight I think of my brief tenure in this office. So, I’m going
to call my dad right now and tell him I just did this. He’s going to
be absolutely thrilled. Anyway, thank you for the opportunity. I
really appreciate it.
RUSH: Pleasure is all mine. I’m glad you were able to carve out so
much time for it. n
“If you cannot get rid of Obamacare now, if you
cannot reform the tax code now, if you cannot fix
the EPA now, those things are never, ever going to
be fixed — because people won’t trust us again
with the levers of power. And frankly, they would
be right.” — MICK MULVANEY