Trump’s budget would pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations by cutting supports for struggling Americans

Clark Goldenrod and Sarah Orange
Feb 20, 2018

Last week, President Donald Trump laid out his vision for the country in his FY 2019 proposed budget. Just a short time after federal policymakers enacted a tax bill that gave the largest tax cuts to those doing well, Trump’s budget calls for cuts in essential services that support Americans trying to make ends meet.

The president’s budget doesn’t create policy change on its own. Congress does the work of passing the budget, and earlier this month Congress passed their guidelines for the FY 2018 and FY 2019 appropriations. But Trump’s proposed budget shows where his priorities lie; portions of it will get serious consideration, and could well be enacted either through legislation or administrative action. His proposed budget woefully underfunds our roads, cuts supports out from under those struggling, and further damages the nation’s ability to meet our future needs by increasing the national deficit.

Trump’s budget cuts critical services that low- and moderate-income Americans count on. The president’s budget proposes cutting many supports for Americans trying to thrive in today’s economy, and even reversing additional funding that was included in the bipartisan Congressional FY 2018 and 2019 budget deal. His budget would:

  • Reverse historic gains in health insurance coverage made under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by severely cutting Medicaid and gutting protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This would leave millions of Americans uninsured or underinsured. In Minnesota, the impact of the president’s budget would be eliminating affordable health care coverage for about 200,000 who gained access from the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, and ending federal funding for 100,000 Minnesotans using MinnesotaCare.
  • Cut food assistance through SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps) by nearly 30 percent over 10 years. More than 500,000 Minnesotans could put food on the table in 2017 thanks to SNAP.
  • Undo the increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant included in the recent budget agreement intended to help states meet new quality requirements and reach more families. Instead, Trump’s budget would underfund child care affordability programs, making it more difficult for parents to find and keep good jobs.
  • Completely eliminate services including: the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families pay for heat; the Community Services Block Grant, which funds state, local, and nonprofit programs that fight poverty; and the Social Services Block Grant, which funds services for seniors and people living with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, and children.

President’s “major” infrastructure investment is essentially a sham. While Trump’s budget touts his plan as supporting $1.5 trillion in investments for “world-class infrastructure” and “stunning new bridges,” in reality it would do very little to meet the infrastructure needs of our country. Instead the budget would shift funding responsibility to states, cities, and individuals – through likely new regressive taxes and fees – expecting them to pick up $1.3 trillion of that investment.

Budget relies on unsound economic assumptions. Like last year, Trump’s budget again uses unrealistic economic and revenue assumptions, such as much larger economic and revenue growth from policies like the tax plan passed in December than non-partisan economists find likely. That means the president’s budget, including its dramatic increase in military spending, and the 2017 tax plan, will drive up the national debt even more than the budget shows, presenting an even more serious threat to the country’s ability to fund essential services in the future.

Trump’s budget proposal would take the country on the wrong track. The budget lays bare how the 2017 tax cut legislation would be paid for – through deep cuts in the investments that help struggling Americans get by and get ahead. It fails to make the investments in our nation and communities that contribute to broader prosperity. This is a blueprint for increased misery and income inequality, not for a better future.

-Clark Goldenrod and Sarah Orange