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Copies of the 2018 budget after publishing last week in Washington.
Copies of the 2018 budget after publishing last week in Washington.

Trump Budget Cuts Deeply Into Medicaid, Anti-Poverty Efforts

Trump Budget Cuts Deeply Into Medicaid, Anti-Poverty Efforts

President Donald Trump would dramatically reduce the US government’s role in society with $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years in a budget plan that shrinks the safety net for the poor, recent college graduates and farmers.
Trump’s proposal, to be released Tuesday, claims to balance the budget within a decade. But it relies on a tax plan for which the administration has provided precious little detail, the elimination of programs backed by many Republican lawmakers, and heavy use of accounting gimmicks, Bloomberg reported.
Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal has already been declared dead on arrival by many of his Republican allies in Congress. The plan would slash Medicaid payments, increase monthly student loan payments and cut food stamps and agricultural subsidies, each backed by powerful constituencies. The administration is unbowed.
“We’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said. “We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off those programs and back in charge of their own lives.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has already said he expects the Republican-led Congress to largely ignore the proposal, saying in an interview last week with Bloomberg News that early versions reflected priorities that “aren’t necessarily ours.”
The president’s proposal would fulfill his campaign promise of leaving Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare untouched while increasing national security spending. He’s also proposing severe cuts to foreign aid and tighter eligibility for tax cuts that benefit the working poor. He also seeks cuts in food stamps and disability insurance.
The plan calls for some new domestic spending, including $25 billion over 10 years for nationwide paid parental leave—a cause championed by First Daughter Ivanka Trump—and an expansion of the Pell Grant program for low-income students. The Department of Homeland Security’s budget would increase $3 billion versus the final full year of President Barack Obama’s term, while the Pentagon’s budget would see a $6 billion increase over that same time.
The budget predicts a sweeping tax overhaul package that would strengthen economic growth while providing few details of how the tax code would change. The one thing the administration has said is people and businesses will pay less; the budget asserts the amount of revenue collected won’t drop.
Neither of the White House’s assertions—that Trump’s tax plan would be both revenue neutral and fuel budget coffers by $2 trillion to $2.6 trillion through economic growth—are realistic, said Maya MacGuineas, president of the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
She called the administration’s projections of 3% annual growth “really not possible—they have impossible assumptions of no changes in revenue and tax cuts.” She added that to see 3 or 4% growth “is nearly unprecedented. You’d need productivity growth at a level you’ve never seen.”

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