Is Mulvaney ‘The most dangerous man in Washington?’


That’s what Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post claims.

(Well, to be clear, what she means is the second most dangerous man in Washington, which she acknowledges.)

Here’s why:

It’s Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

In terms of both immensity and immediacy, the threat Mulvaney presents is far greater than any of the slow-motion train wrecks happening elsewhere in the administration. That’s because he seems hell-bent on wreaking a global crisis within the next two months.

Not a century from now. Not a decade from now. In two months.

That’s when the government will run out of money needed to pay bills Congress has already incurredaccording to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, if Congress does not act to raise the debt limit.

What would follow? Just a constitutional, political and global financial crisis….

OK. That would be bad. Important safety tip. Although I may not think about financial matters more than I’m forced to, even I understand — apparently better than the administration’s budget guy — why protecting the full faith and credit of the United States is important. But most dangerous? Maybe. But as much as I might be inclined to root for a fellow South Carolinian, I think some of the other people she names have pretty good claims to the title:

It’s not the guy in charge of our nuclear arsenal, who may or may not have realized that was the core of his job description before accepting the post (Rick Perry).

Nor is it the woman meeting with men’s rights advocates (Betsy DeVos).

And it’s not the guy who keeps adding financial assets and meetings with Russian officials to his federal disclosure forms (Jared Kushner).

It’s neither of the guys rolling back climate change regulations and sidelining scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department (Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, respectively)….

But yeah, what Mulvaney wants to do is bad, almost in the Egon sense, financially speaking…

31 thoughts on “Is Mulvaney ‘The most dangerous man in Washington?’

  1. Phillip

    Well, it makes perfect sense: we’re well on our way to jettisoning what was left of the USA’s moral credibility as a member of the world community, so it would only be logical for the gangsters running our country to destroy its financial credibility, or credit-worthiness, as well.

  2. Karen Pearson

    I’ll agree. If we essentially go bankrupt (can’t or won’t meet our debts), then all of the programs we worry about being targeted are gone. It will be a grim disaster indeed. Muvaney can share the credit for destroying this country with our Disaster-in-Chief.

  3. Claus2

    ” If we essentially go bankrupt (can’t or won’t meet our debts)”

    You mean like it’s been for the past 20+ years? Getting the Treasury to pump out a few more billion in $100 bills to pay our creditors isn’t meeting our debts. Has the national debt ever reversed itself? The country is financially broke. If it were a person it’d likely be is prison, or a business… liquidated.

  4. Mark Stewart

    I’m confused. What makes anyone think that Mulvaney has any power here? I mean power to actually do something, or impel a course of action.

    It’s up to Congress to raise the artifice of a federal “debt ceiling.” Mulvaney is but a sideshow to that now; a pot-stirrer to be sure, however, not an actual actor in this farce.

    He can posture all he wants, make demands all he wants, pitch nonsensical ideas – whatever – but at the end of the day Congress will vote to raise the debt ceiling. Mulvaney used to have a vote in that; but not now. So where’s the beef?

  5. Mark Stewart

    The answer to who is the most dangerous man in Washington is Donald Trump. And not for any reasons that could be construed as positive in some sense. No, the President is simply a menace to the Constitution and to our place on the world stage. He is a menace to us all; through the actions of his appointees as well as from his own choices and mental faculties.

    The fish stinks from the head down. Unfortunately, the twerp of a “communications director” will go down in history with the definitive summation of this Presidency. I wish I could enjoy the irony in that; but I cannot.

    1. Mark Stewart

      On the other hand, for the President himself the most dangerous is clearly Robert Mueller.

      Trump didn’t just implicate himself in the cover-up today; he literally admitted his foreknowledge of the crime itself.

  6. Doug Ross

    This is a joke, right? We’ve gone through this “government will run out of money needed to pay its bills” how many times in recent memory? And every time it happens, the doomsday prophecies fizzle out into nothing.

    These scare techniques are amazing. The hyperbole is both scary and laughable at the same time. I actually saw someone post on Facebook a photo of Trump and Scaramucci saying their bad language was the lowest point for the Oval Office. Their LANGUAGE. Not Bill Clinton’s actual sexual acts. Their language.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      You do understand, don’t you, the way the world’s finances — and, on a smaller scale, our ability to borrow money when we need it — are based on absolute confidence in the United States paying its debts?

      That’s what we’re talking about here.

      And it’s not even close to being a joke…

      1. Doug Ross

        You do understand that this has happened before many times, right? Nothing different today other than your personal boogey man being in the White House.

        Do you also remember all the doom and gloom forecast when sequestration was discussed and implemented in 2013? Same level of hysyteria about old people and children dying. It’s silly on one level and tragic on another in that people are so easily duped.

        The best thing about being an economist or working for the Congressional Budget Office is that you never actually have to be right and you still keep your job.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “You do understand that this has happened before many times, right?”

          WHAT has happened many times? That the yahoos in the Freedom Caucus have created unnecessary crises, and in one case even managed to temporarily degrade the nation’s credit rating?

          Is that what has happened many times?

          And I REALLY don’t follow that crack about my “personal boogey man.” The difference is that some of those yahoos are now in the executive branch, starting with Mulvaney.

          Fortunately, Mnuchin knows better. But whose position will hold sway in the executive branch as it works with Congress on this?

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      “This is a joke, right? We’ve gone through this “government will run out of money needed to pay its bills” how many times in recent memory? And every time it happens, the doomsday prophecies fizzle out into nothing.”

      Doug, it’s like we aren’t speaking the same language here. First, they don’t fizzle into “nothing.” We’ve essentially experienced some partial shutdowns of the government. They don’t turn into anything worse because the matter is settled and the debt ceiling gets raised.

      You’re talking like we do nothing, and ignore all the warnings, and nothing happens. What you are saying simply does not in any way fit the facts of what has happened.

      But let’s be frank about what we’re talking about here. You simply don’t think it’s a matter of importance if the government has to shut down services, or loses confidence in global markets, because you don’t believe in government. To you, it’s this swollen monster that always has its hand in your pocket, and any time the money tap is shut off or just curtailed, that’s fine with you.

      I believe something entirely different — that the people in charge of the government have a basic, simple grownup responsibility to pay the bills that are being incurred on their watch. That’s what grownups do. This is the bare minimum of what a Congress and executive officials have a responsibility to do. Argue over all the rest, but this is the MINIMUM. You do this, and THEN you debate the controversial stuff. If you think you’re spending too much, stop spending so much. You’re Congress. But you don’t refuse to pay for expenses you haven’t had the discipline to avoid incurring. Again, to take you back to the original point, we’re talking about paying “bills Congress has already incurred.”

      And yet we have these loonies like Mulvaney who want to undermine doing the minimum. And that is completely, utterly unacceptable.

      1. Doug Ross

        I simply don’t think it will happen. As usual, I don’t actually worry about things until they happen. But then I’m not trying to present a daily dose of Trump hate.

        1. Scout

          Maybe you don’t know yourself very well. You clearly do worry about things before they happen since I assume you don’t run out of gas on a regular basis or find there is no food in your house when it’s time to make dinner or find you didn’t pay your mortgage until you get the past due notice.

          You clearly are aware of the cause/effect relationships in our world and take actions in preparation for what will or what you want to occur.

          But since you don’t think this will happen – what basis do you have to doubt that there will be consequences to choosing to not pay bills that are due?

          And what does Trump hate have to do with it? This is just plain old pre-Trump Republican lunacy.

          1. Doug Ross

            I don’t worry about things like running out of gas. I take care of it before it happens. See the difference? I don’t worry about paying my mortgage because I have a job. See the difference?

            And I don’t worry about the government shutting down because every time in the recent past when people told me I should worry about it, it didn’t happen. Because this is all about procedural political bureaucracy and not about whether the U.S. can actually pay its bills. If all it takes is signing a piece of legislation to pay the bills, then its not a problem.

            Now if you tell me to worry about the deficits that have been created by Bush’s wars and Obama’s bailouts that may impact the economy in the future, then I will surely worry about THAT. But I’m guessing you aren’t worried about deficit spending as much as you are about the magical debt ceiling.

  7. bud

    Doug is probably right. But probably just isn’t good enough. This should never come up as any kind of possibility.

    1. Bart Rogers

      Agree but Doug is not probably right, he is right – period. Mulvaney is a figure head and cannot on his own do anything without Congress voting or acting on it. And it doesn’t matter which administration is in office, this comes up when Democrats are in control, when Republicans are in control, when POTUS is one party and Congress another or if the bag is mixed. It is a scare tactic that has been played out so many times, it reminds me of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” once too often.

      The only caveat is that Trump is POTUS and considering his impetuous nature, he just might let the government shut down just to prove a point – his point – whatever it may be at any given time. He is threatening to cut off aid to ACA participants and the thing is, he can actually do it.

      It is amazing and unfathomable that Trump has been in office a little over 7 months and the totality of the disruption created since his inauguration. Maybe a creative type can come up with Trump’s head on Tweety Bird and make it the presidential symbol for his administration as long as it doesn’t violate any proprietary rights for the owners of Tweety Bird’s image.

      1. Mark Stewart

        Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury met with Congress today – imploring a multi-year lift of the cap. It appears Congress isn’t interested in helping the President (whoever it is).

        It’s not ironic but hardly atypical that Trump has taken the same position Obama did on this – the one he railed against for years before he won the Presidency.

          1. Bart Rogers

            Yes, I do have a job. I am self-employed putting in anywhere from 40 to 60 hours a week average. How about you, how many hours a week do your work? Or are you independently wealthy and just post here to kill time? Fair question. I answered, now it is your turn.


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