The White House officially unveiled its 2018 budget on Tuesday, much to the displeasure of Democrats and liberals in the media.
The budget includes a modest spending increase, with new funds going to defense and homeland security while the EPA and the State Department get slashed. The 2018 budget would spend about $4.1 trillion, and there is good news for immigration hawks: It requests about $1.6 billion to begin construction on the southern border wall.
“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs and the amount spent on those programs. We need everybody to pull in the same direction.”
But that’s not what has the media and liberals apoplectic about the budget. It was the 10-year plan contained therein to cut $3.6 trillion out of future budgets to eliminate annual deficits in a decade.
With Trump in Europe on his first foreign trip, the press let loose their tirades. The New York Times could barely hide its contempt for the document.
“[The proposed budget] for 2018 … would cut deeply into programs for the poor, from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments, laying out an austere vision for reordering the nation’s priorities,” wrote reporter Julie Hirschfeld Davis.
The budget also banks on “an improbable promise of 3 percent economic growth.”
Bloomberg News also got in on the action, suggesting Trump supporters and urban dwellers will both be slammed by the proposal.
“President Donald Trump’s first full budget would dramatically reduce the U.S. government’s role in society, hitting hard many of the rural, working-poor supporters who propelled him into office as he cuts through the safety net for the poor and disabled, hitting farming communities and inner cities alike,” Bloomberg News claimed, doing its best impression of a left-wing New York Times columnist. “And the urban minority voters whom Trump asked in his campaign, ‘What do you have to lose?’ by supporting him got their answer in the $3.6 trillion in spending reductions he’s requesting. They, along with residents of rural areas, would feel the bite of steep reductions in food stamps, Medicaid health insurance payments, low-income housing assistance, and block grants that fund meals-on-wheels for the elderly.”
It’s true that the budget is ambitious and bold. And Trump is not shy about it. It’s titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness, Fiscal Year 2018.”
“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs and the amount spent on those programs,” said Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney at a Tuesday morning briefing. “We need everybody to pull in the same direction.”
Mulvaney said the budget is a “taxpayer-first budget.”
He said a lot of able-bodied people who should not be on federal assistance will be weaned off such safety-net programs as Social Security Disability Insurance, encouraging many to return to the workforce.
He also said that recession-era programs are still being exploited. Mulvaney said during the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2009, food-stamp use rose from 28 million to 47 million users, but remains at 42 million today, despite the improving economy.
Mulvaney defended the assumption that the nation would gradually get back to 3 percent annual growth, noting former President Barack Obama projected an even stronger 4 percent growth rate over time. That growth rate never happened, and Obama became the first president to ever serve eight years without ever having an annual growth rate of 3 percent or more.
But Trump is not cutting all spending. He wants a paid-maternity leave program that will cost about $20 billion. It would allow six weeks of such leave, and it would be paid through the federal unemployment-insurance programs.
And the budget doesn’t touch Medicare or Social Security’s main programs.
Congress will take up the president’s budget later in the year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has already said the Senate will mesh their commitments to Trump’s, ensuring a different budget.
But House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said he was happy Trump proposed a budget that would balance the budget in 10 years.
Trump’s Tea Party supporters also expressed satisfaction that Trump stuck to his campaign promises.
“Tea Party activists and grassroots conservatives appreciate that President Donald Trump and his administration are taking to heart their promise to ‘drain the swamp’ by constructing a budget based on the needs and expectations of the American taxpayer and not the impulses of bureaucrats and special interests in Washington, D.C.,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “It fundamentally breaks with previous administrations of both parties by focusing on the American taxpayer first rather than the political benefits desired by politicians and lobbyists.”