Trump's budget plan, heartless in spots, will be hard sell
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 27, 2017,
May 27, 2017, 13:53
The White House has requested $1.6 billion in the budget to begin construction of a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border so as to coincide with President Trump's campaign pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. "In fact, that's Trumponomics", he said in his opening statement, arguing that the nation will never pay off its "crushing debt" unless the USA achieves a growth rate that economists across the ideological spectrum say is nearly impossible to achieve.
Many - including some in Mr Trump's own party - remain unconvinced.
As Alice Rivlin, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under Clinton, told the Times, "This has been a very long period of growth and we're at the high end already".
The plan, Trump's first as president, combines 4.1 trillion U.S. dollars (£3.2 trillion) for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year with a promise to bring the budget back into balance in 10 years, relying on aggressive spending cuts, a surge in economic growth - and a two trillion USA dollars-plus accounting gimmick.
Trump's budget, however, would also supposedly balance in 10 years - even though the spending in the proposal is greater than the tax receipts it assumes.
The budget is harsh on the poor and low-income Americans.
The budget not only slashes funding for food stamps by $191 billion over the next decade - that is, by more than a quarter - but also proposes charging retailers a new fee if they want to accept food stamps from customers. It assumed that new lower rates would increase growth, while essentially using the existing rates to justify the higher tax revenue to close the deficit gap.
Under the proposed budget released Tuesday, the Trump Administration's proposed tax cuts boost would economic growth enough to pay for $1.3 trillion in spending by 2027. Yet America's poorest and most vulnerable people should be the last group called upon to sacrifice for the sake of deficit reduction, not the first - and certainly not the only. "While lawmakers are likely to dismiss most of it - as they traditionally do with most White House wishlists - the document provides fresh insight into the administration's priorities", CNN reported.
Most of those losing coverage would be beneficiaries of Medicaid, the health care program for poor and disabled people, though people buying individual policies or getting coverage at work would also become uninsured. He says Congress may soon hear from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO'-shin) about a change in the deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
Although the Trump budget is dead well before its arrival in Congress, a few of its elements could start useful conversations. "They are the first to depart from what the whole big world thinks", he said. The assumption behind drastic cuts in vital programs seems to be that vast sums of money are being spent on people who don't need the assistance.
Congress must act to increase the debt limit to avert a first-ever, economy-rattling default on US obligations like bond payments.
The budget does feature a handful of domestic initiatives, including a six-week paid parental leave program championed by Trump's daughter, Ivanka, that would be designed and financed by the states through cuts to unemployment insurance.
Top officials in President Donald Trump's Cabinet are heading to Capitol Hill to defend his plans to cut domestic programs and parry Democratic criticism of his tax plans. It is a despicable way to try to excuse a heartless, cruel budget clearly created to somehow keep campaign promises no matter what.