A budget proposal by President Trump seeks to significantly cut domestic spending and funding for social security programs such as Medicare. The budget also seeks a military spending increase. The proposal goes against a number of promises made by president Trump during the campaign.
Trump had assured voters that social programs such as Medicare and Social Security wouldn’t be touched during his presidency. But the proposed budget significantly affects the programs. For instance, Trump is proposing to cut spending on Medicare by $236 billion over the next decade.
However, it’s very unlikely that these cuts will become reality. The presidential budget is often nonsignificant and it’s simply used by the White House to lay down its priorities. The US Congress controls the federal purse and lawmakers have the final say on government spending.
Nonetheless, top Democratic lawmakers were quick to criticize the proposal. John Yarmuth, a senior Democrat who also sits in the House Budget Committee, rebuked the White House budget proposal saying that the cuts to important federal investments were very extreme. The Trump proposal is also calling for additional cuts on non-military spending. The president believes that these cuts will reduce the current deficit by $3 trillion over the next decade.
A bipartisan two-year budget deal has already been passed by Congress. The deal raised spending limits on both the military and other domestic programs by $300 billion. This is an indicator that Congress has already wrapped up the process with all the necessary priorities already considered. Any proposal from the White House that is not aligned with that deal is likely to not be implemented.
Nonetheless, the proposal forecasts a 3% annual economic growth for the next three years. Trump administration says that this growth will be robust enough to cover the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts that were passed by the GOP-controlled Congress in 2017.
But this is not as straightforward as it seems.
First of all, a 3% growth rate over the next three years is very optimistic. In addition to this, the federal debt is swelling and the massive tax cuts resulting from the GOP bill have not helped the situation. With such conditions, it will be very unlikely to eliminate the deficit within 10 years as proposed by the White House budget.
However, the military would be the biggest beneficiary if the proposal passes. President Trump wants to allocate $716 billion to military spending. This budget is designed for various military programs and for maintaining the US nuclear arsenal.
The proposed budget also includes $200 billion for rebuilding infrastructure and an additional $23 billion for building the border wall. Reducing illegal immigration is an important promise for Trump supporters and building the wall is surely a big priority for the president. The White House proposal is also setting aside $571 million for hiring 2,000 more immigration and custom enforcement officers. Surprisingly though, US contributions to the UN according to the proposal are up by 4.5%.