US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attends a session at the Congres center during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 21, 2020.
FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP via Getty Images
Bernie Sanders’ “very, very different” economic plan is unlikely to triumph over President Donald Trump’s if he wins the Democratic Party presidential nomination, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
Sanders emerged victorious in the “first in the west” Democratic caucus in Nevada on Saturday, cementing his position as the front-runner to take on Trump in November.
Based on the most recent polling, Nevada Democrats appear to have given Sanders a resounding victory in the third primary nominating state, with former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg jostling for second place.
“I think the president is in pretty good shape no matter who he runs against,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at a G-20 summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday.
“I would say in the case of Bernie, there are two very, very different economic plans, and I think there is no question the American public like the Trump economic plan and they’re seeing that every day.”
Running on a democratic socialist ticket, the Vermont senator’s flagship policies have sent shivers through Wall Street, including implementing single-payer health care, canceling student debt, fighting income inequality and combating what he deems corporate greed.
U.S. income inequality recently hit a 50-year record and is the highest of any of the G-7 (Group of Seven) nations, according to OECD data. In a study conducted in September 2019, the Pew Research Center also found that 61% of Americans believe that income inequality is too high.
In an entrance poll prior to the Nevada voting, 43% of Democratic caucus-goers cited health care as their primary issue with 62% saying they supported replacing private insurance with a single government plan.
Trump released his 2021 budget proposal earlier this month, proposing substantial cuts to public services, protections and health care in a bid to provide a short-term boost to economic growth. The Trump administration is also readying a further round of the corporate tax cuts signed into law in 2017.
“I see the economy being a very strong factor in the president’s re-election, and as you look at the U.S. economy relative to the world economy, the U.S. is the bright spot on world growth,” Mnuchin said.
The administration has often touted the success of the economy since taking office in January 2017, as the U.S. continues the longest economic recovery in its history, which began in 2009.
Trump had said that the economic growth stimulated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would pay off the cost to government coffers. However, while GDP rose 2.9% in 2018, it slowed to 2.3% in 2019 as the debt and deficits continue to rise.
The federal deficit surged 25% in the first four months of fiscal 2020 and is up to $1.1 trillion over the past 12 months, according to the latest Treasury Department data.
– CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.