Trump’s budget request just $50 billion less than Obama’s
Liberals are appalled by Trump’s budget request. But they are overreacting…
Trump released his budget request (finally). The news media got their hands on the details early, and they’ve presented their spin. The big headline is this: Trump will “slash” spending by $3.6 trillion. Of course, that’s over the next 10 years.
That means real savings of $360 billion a year. But those numbers are slippery. Trump’s FY 2018 budget request is reported to amount to $4.094 trillion. According to Wikipedia, this is just $53 billion less than Obama’s FY 2017 budget request of $4.147 trillion. That’s a decline of about 1.3% — negligible. On the other hand, if his budget came in at $360 billion less ($3.787 trillion), that’d be a decline of about 8.7%. Not great, but better than 1.3%.
In a previous article, I discussed where about 75% of the federal budget is allotted: Social Security, Medicare, the military, and interest paid on the debt. For his 2018 budget request, Trump is allegedly going to request an increase in the military budget of $43 billion, but the following years the military budget drops back to what it is this year.
To fund that temporary increase, he wants to cut welfare for the poor, we’re told. Liberals are reacting hysterically, as you might imagine:
Democrats and anti-poverty advocates decried the changes, saying that Trump is seeking to strip support for the most vulnerable Americans while cutting taxes for the wealthiest.
“This would pull the rug out from so many Americans who need help: those suffering from opioid and heroin addiction, people in nursing homes and their families who care for them, the elderly, the disabled and children,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.
To help balance this 1.3% reduction, Trump is going after programs like Medicaid and food stamps. He is waging an attack on the welfare state, they say:
But a White House official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Trump saw the shrinking of the “welfare state” as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”
LOTS OF SOUND AND FURY
So, by reducing the budget 1.3% below Obama’s last budget request, we are supposed to believe that Trump is shrinking the welfare state. But that’s ridiculous. The biggest components of the welfare state are reserved for the middle class: Social Security and Medicare. Not so much as a hair on their head shall be touched:
Trump insisted that they could not cut retirement benefits for Social Security or health benefits for Medicare, two of the most expensive parts of the federal budget. White House officials also were committed to protecting military spending.
To preserve those items and eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years, officials had to deliver major cuts across the rest of the budget. The budget also relies heavily on assumptions that economic growth will soar under tax cuts and regulatory reductions that Trump has promised to deliver.
Trump’s not endangering the largest block of welfare takers, and he’s also not shrinking the welfare state. The Democrats and Republicans both know where their power base lies: the middle class. They have spent over 50% of the federal budget, especially when you include the military budget, to purchase middle-class votes.
The New York Times is quick to point out that 44 million people received food stamps in 2016. But they’re silent on the fact that 65 million people received Social Security benefits in 2015. This number will only rise over time. These people vote.
Politicians won’t touch those massive programs.
THE FUTURE OF FEDERAL SPENDING
But Trump is proposing to touch the budgets of a parasitic and under-represented voting bloc: federal bureaucrats. If he gets his way, he will cut several federal bureaucracies, like the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, by over 10%. Others, he cuts even deeper: the EPA has over 30% of their budget removed, and the State Department would lose 29% of its budget.
Whether the cuts go through or not, the future is clear. The handwriting is on the wall. To fund the major components of the federal budget — Social Security and Medicare — it will be the Federal bureaucracies who will suffer. That will be great for liberty.