President Trump’s first budget proposal seeks to balance the federal books within 10 years, entirely through spending restraints. 
 
Among the criticisms hurled at the president is that his budget would gut social programs. Some media outlets have characterized the spending cuts for entitlement programs as "massive," and "sweeping." While, superficially, the $1.7 trillion in proposed spending seek massive, many media reports fail to include that spending on entitlement programs is not actually being cut. Trump’s budget does not touch Social Security or Medicare, while it only slows the growth of the remaining so-called “safety net” programs. 
 
According to Investor’s Business Daily, “In fact, the projected 10-year spending for all entitlement programs under Trump's budget would be trimmed by less than 8%.’
 
Trump's budget may cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years, because of $610 billion in savings from reforming the program, in addition to the $800 billion proposed cuts contained in the House Republicans’ American Health Care Act that will replace ObamaCare. 
 
While Trump’s budget proposes to increase federal spending from $4 trillion today to $5.7 trillion in 2027, in Washington circles this is regarding as "budget cuts." For example, Medicaid programs will actually increase from $378 billion a year today to $524 billion a year in 2027. Other programs, which have been said to decrease, will actually increase. For example, the Department of Agriculture's Child Nutrition Programs had outlays of $23 billion in 2017, while Trump has proposed for spending to rise to $34 billion in 2027 (a 47% increase). This is indeed an increase less than the $29 billion that Congress has allocated, but it remains an increase.
 
Trump proposes to increase spending on the Department of Health and Human Services' Child Support and Family Support Programs from $4 billion in 2017 to $5 billion in 2027 (a 25% increase). He also wants to funding to the Earned Income Tax Credit program to rise from $61 billion in 2017 to $76 billion in 2027. The program supplements the income of low-income earners. 
 
Currently, the federal government funds more than 90 anti-poverty programs, 17 food-aid programs, and 22 housing-assistance programs, which have contributed to the increase of the federal debt from less than $6 trillion in 1997 to almost $20 trillion today. Even though credits claim that Trump’s budget is too lean, it still retains the fat of the Obama administration. Government spending as currently proposed will remain at 20 percent or above until 2022, according to Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Manhattan Institute. In 1950, she wrote, spending was 15 percent of GDP, and between 1997 and 2007 it did not reach 20%. 
 
At Investor’s Business Daily, Furchtgott-Roth wrote:
 
“The goal should be to move spending from the federal to state and local governments, which have more knowledge of the needs of individual residents and greater ability to cut costs. To achieve that goal, if anything, President Trump's budget should be leaner, not fatter.”


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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