Gary Cohn gives a simple metric to judge the Trump administration

Cohn: Need to get the jobs narrative back to what success means for the country

Gary Cohn just laid out a simple standard for judging the Trump administration: economic growth.

"The right baseline to judge us against is: Do we grow the economy? Do we create a better environment for U.S. citizens?" the White House chief economic advisor said Thursday. "Do we put more people to work? Do we give them better jobs? Does their life get better? Do more people end up getting a job that they want?"

At the Institute of International Finance Washington Policy Summit, Cohn outlined the initiatives that he argued would help the United States grow. He highlighted the White House's plan to chop the American corporate tax rate, slash regulations on businesses, and increase government and private spending on infrastructure projects.

Cohn did not go into a specific timeline of when those initiatives might happen. The Trump administration has taken initial steps to start trimming regulations through executive orders, but so far possible Trump-backed tax reform and infrastructure bills have taken the backseat to efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act in Congress.

At the event earlier Thursday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration is close to bringing forward "major tax reform," days after he tempered expectations for how quickly it will pass. However, the Trump administration previously missed several of its deadlines for releasing its tax plan.

Cohn did not go into detail about what specific provisions a Republican tax plan might include. A so-called border adjustment tax — which would raise revenue under the House GOP proposal but faces backlash from retailers and some lawmakers because it taxes imports — is just one possible point of contention among Republicans.

The economic advisor said a carbon tax — a tax on fossil fuels that many Republican lawmakers have opposed — is "not in the mix." Cohn added that the tax plan may contain a provision for using money repatriated, or brought by companies from overseas into the U.S., in order to finance some infrastructure projects.

He said that funding infrastructure with both private and government financing, or taking some pieces of U.S. infrastructure private, "makes a lot of sense." He highlighted the potential to privatize air traffic control, which some Republican members of Congress have supported for years.