On Monday, President Donald Trump unveiled the second budget proposal of his presidency, encompassing proposals affecting defense and non-defense funding for government agencies, tax changes, and funding for social insurance and assistance programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.
The budget broadly resembles the budget Trump released last year, and both closely follow budget plans put forward by House Speaker Paul Ryan when he was the House Budget Committee chair. Ryan’s previous budget proposals featured trillions in cuts to programs for the poor. While Trump largely leaves the non-disability portions of Social Security unscathed, and boosts funding for border security, veterans, and defense, he cuts just about everything else — including Medicare, which was largely spared in the fiscal year 2018 budget.
The new budget also calls for passing an Obamacare replacement bill that deeply cuts Medicaid to far below its pre-Obamacare levels, making the tax bill passed in 2017 permanent, and slashing food stamps dramatically.
As with last year’s, this budget assumes an extremely unrealistic economic growth rate — 3 percent, above the currently projected 1.9 percent. This assumption results in $3.1 trillion lower deficits than would otherwise result — which, since the budget claims $3.1 trillion in net deficit reduction through spending cuts, suggests the budget might not close the deficit at all if you use more realistic assumptions.
It’s an ambitious document that stands in marked contrast to the actual actions of the administration and its allies in Congress, who just last week agreed to a massive increase in non-defense discretionary spending, which this budget now proposes to cut by more than 40 percent.