March 12, 2019

Trump's 2020 Budget Proposal

“President Trump on Monday sent a record $4.75 trillion 2020 budget proposal to Congress, in which he called for a 5% increase in military spending, a $1.9 trillion cut to safety net programs and an additional $8.6 billion for his border wall.” Axios

Read the full budget proposal here.

See past issues

From the Left

The left is criticizing Trump’s efforts to slash the safety net and further increase the deficit.

“Give big tax breaks to the rich and then cut spending on vets, farmers, students, seniors, and the poor. What’s not to like?”
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones

“These proposed cuts… come when many key programs need more money, not less. America’s middle class already struggles with slow wage growth and meager savings, as the recent government shutdown poignantly illustrated… [This is part of] a trend of policies that undermine middle-class economic security at the expense of boosting the incomes of the richest Americans through massive tax cuts.”
Christian Weller, Forbes

“This is the first Trump budget that has come after [the] public verdict on Trump/GOP rule. Yet on one front after another, it blithely ignores that verdict… Trump is seeking an additional $8.6 billion for his border wall… after losing a government shutdown battle… Trump is seeking to block-grant Medicaid, impose work requirements and zero out the Medicaid expansion — after an election in which Democrats routed Republicans in districts across the country by campaigning on a vow to protect Obamacare, which of course includes an open-ended expansion of Medicaid in states that have opted in.”
Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, Washington Post

“What Democrats are offering right now is a clear vision of how they think medical care should be in the United States: easily affordable and accessible to all Americans… [By contrast] the future the Trump budget lays out is one in which richer Americans can do just fine buying their own health care. There aren’t big changes for those who get insurance at work, as higher-income Americans typically do. But it’s a future where, if you’re poor, seeking care gets a lot harder.”
Sarah Kliff, Vox

Many also worry that “our ballooning budget deficit reflects an unhealthy democracy… In a healthy democracy, the budgeting process reflects a reasonable balance between the resources available and policy priorities, both present and future. Leaders persuade voters to accept trade-offs in the public interest. In an unhealthy democracy, leaders pretend that resources are unlimited and compete for voter favor by promising the moon. They engage in magical thinking. They opportunistically abandon their party’s supposed fiscal principles, as the Republicans have done under Mr. Trump.”
Editorial Board, Washington Post

“For the past 30 years Democrats have been more responsible — or perhaps less irresponsible — than Republicans on budgetary matters. The last time the budget was balanced was during the administration of President Bill Clinton. Now some Democrats have given up on trying to fight fire with water and have turned to fighting it with gasoline… Many Democrats are pushing have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too spending plans that almost perfectly mirror Republicans' have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too tax cuts. It has apparently become a race for who can show the most bad faith and callous disregard for America's future economic well-being. This race will not end well.”
Editorial Board, USA Today

From the Right

The right sees the budget as a good start towards cutting bloated government spending, but believes more is necessary.

The right sees the budget as a good start towards cutting bloated government spending, but believes more is necessary.

“The outline reflects a good first step toward restoring fiscal sustainability… Yet much more is needed if the U.S. is going to stave off a future budget meltdown. Trump’s proposal would fail to reach balance in 10 years and would do little to address unsustainable entitlement programs, which are driving much of the budget’s projected long-term spending growth.”
Justin Bogie, Daily Signal

“The ratio of lifetime Medicare benefits to lifetime Medicare taxes paid is three to one. Unsurprisingly, Medicare and Social Security are consuming vast and ever increasing proportions of the federal budget… Government should help those who cannot help themselves. It should also assist those in poverty to get out of poverty. But there is no morality in taking from younger Americans and the nation's economic future to protect unaffordable entitlement programs.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Congress “passes laws empowering the federal government to take your hard-earned money, spend it recklessly, and then borrow more with no consequences… If we want to increase defense spending, we should offset it somewhere else. If we want to increase [welfare spending] we should re-think what we demand of our military with the limited resources we have… Defense Secretary James Mattis was correct that the national debt is our nation’s biggest threat to national security. Indeed, our future military will need resources to fight that we can’t mortgage away now.”
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), The Federalist

“Republicans fought to increase defense spending [in the budget] because years of sequestration cuts had eroded the military to the point of a readiness crisis. The decay came from reduced personnel proficiency such as fewer flying hours and less skilled maintenance staff. The rebuild will take several years… Defense spending is about 3% of the economy, down from 6% in 1986. That compares to 15% of GDP in 2017 for [transfer] programs like Medicare and food stamps, up from 6.2% in 1970 and 11.7% in 2005.”
Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

Some urge the President to fight for his budget. “The most powerful tool Trump has over legislation is the veto. He needs to use it often in the months ahead for his agenda. Trump should declare that if spending bills come in even a dime over his new budget totals, he will veto each and every one… The Democrats cannot at once attack Trump for vetoing obese spending bills, and then hypocritically blame soaring deficits on him.”
Stephen Moore, The Hill

Critics, however, argue that the budget “savings are mainly imaginary — highly dependent on rosy economic forecasts and vague promises to eliminate ‘waste, fraud, and abuse.’... the administration is touting a 5 percent cut to nondefense discretionary spending without specifying, in detail, where such significant reductions would be coming from… [and] There are no major structural reforms to Medicare that would actually put the program on a sustainable fiscal trajectory.”
Philip Klein, Washington Examiner

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