(Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP)

President Trump plans to leave hundreds of government jobs unfilled and is betting on a boost to the nation’s economy to save Social Security and other entitlement programs, he said Tuesday.

In a preview of his first major address to Congress Tuesday night, Trump described his plans to slash regulations and government positions and his hope that business-friendly policies will eventually help provide billions of dollars in new tax revenue to cover expected shortfalls in Medicaid and Social Security.

Trump repeatedly promised during his campaign that he wouldn’t touch those programs, which help the poor and the elderly.

"If the economy sails, then I’m right, because I said I’m not touching Social Security," Trump said on Fox and Friends.

Republican lawmakers have long said that major entitlement programs, a huge part of the government budget, need to be revamped to head off massive deficits in the future.

Trump’s view contradicts his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, who said during his confirmation hearing that entitlement programs need to be slashed if they are going to survive.

In addition to preserving benefits, Trump has promised to increase defense spending by 10% and to finance improving roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects around the country.

Budget experts say those hugely expensive initiatives will be difficult to offset with savings elsewhere in the federal budget.

On Monday, White House officials said Trump would pay for a proposed $54 billion boost in military and security spending by cutting domestic programs not related to securing the country, including the environment.

The budgets of domestic agencies are a fraction the size of the Pentagon and entitlement budgets.

Trump said Tuesday he would start by leaving most of the 600 mid-level vacancies in his government unfilled.

"In many cases, we don’t want to fill those jobs," Trump said on Fox and Friends.

He sees leaving those positions open as a way to both cut costs and thin out the bureaucracy.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of jobs that are totally unnecessary jobs," Trump said. "That’s not a bad thing. That’s a good thing. We’re running a very good, efficient government."

In some cases, government vacancies can lead to slow response times from federal agencies and long waits for citizens requesting services or redress.

Production workers assemble a 2017 Ford F-Series truck at a plant in Louisville, Ky.

This article was sourced from http://vn4news.com