Before we get into Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, remember to take this whole plan with a grain of salt. This plan has no chance of being the actual budget. Members of both parties have voiced their opposition to this plan, including one GOP Senator who called it ‘dead on arrival.‘ Budget proposals are essentially just a wishlist or a set of guidelines. They’re meant to influence budget appropriation bills in the Senate, which will definitely differ from this actual plan.
With that being said, this is actually a decent proposal for conservatives. The best part is the intent to actually balance the budget within a decade, although this would be unlikely. Not only would it take a miracle to actually balance because of wishful thinking concerning the growth effects from the tax cuts, but it also relies on the repeal of Obamacare, which still hasn’t happened.
So lets get to it.
- It intends to balance the budget. The proposal plans to cut federal spending by $3.6 trillion, which would balance the budget. However, I say ‘intends’ because it relies on some quite enthusiastic predictions of how much economic growth the $2.1 trillion in tax cuts will spur to produce this. Maybe in Utopia Land these tax cuts could produce constant 3% GDP growth, but it would be quite the miracle in the real world.
- It will cut around $200 billion from the SNAP program in a decade and enable work requirements for able-bodied people with no children. This was proposed to incentivize able-bodied adults to join the workforce to lift themselves out of poverty so they can help the economy.
- It will completely defund Planned Parenthood and any other organization that gives abortions. This is great because it will end taxpayer-funded abortions, and yes, for the Planned Parenthood apologists, federal funds are used for abortions. The Hyde Amendment does not completely prevent money from being used for abortions; money is fungible. This would be great after the recent failure to defund Planned Parenthood in the 2017 budget.
- It would end benefits to illegal immigrants by restricting their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. This is estimated to save around $40 billion over the next decade. Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney said this specific proposal was made because it is unfair to the American taxpayer to have people illegally benefitting from these programs.
- It gives states a choice of either a block grant of Medicaid, or a per-capita cap. It also reduces spending by around $610 billion over the next decade. This will not lead to nationwide genocide as the left would have you believe. Even if this exact plan was enacted, ten years from today we would still be spending more on Medicaid than we are today. This simply reduces the amount we are projected to spend over the next ten years if nothing changes. It doesn’t kick millions of people off of their plans and leave them for dead, likely disappointing to the Leftist media. This paired with the repeal of Obamacare would get people off of Medicaid and onto private plans.
- It includes substantial tax cuts. Between reducing and simplifying the tax code for individuals, slashing the corporate tax rate, and eliminating the death tax, the Trump budget is assuming $2.1 trillion in growth effects. This has been heavily criticized because the admin supposedly used the $2.1 trillion in growth effects in more than one area; this National Review article points out the $2 trillion hole. However, the tax cuts would produce solid growth effects and conservatives should fight tooth and nail to get them.
- It includes cuts to Government departments and programs. The EPA would get cut over 31% alone, freeing up around $2 billion. Here’s a list of 66 other programs that would get cut, freeing up another $26.7 billion. In addition, here is a list of 11 programs that have already expired, but haven’t been abolished. These and several other unauthorized programs are heading to the chopping block after the administration found $300 billion in federal spending that was going to expired programs.
- It cuts unnecessary funding in the Department of Education. This proposal cuts $9.2 billion for a 13.5% decrease in the education budget. Cuts to the Department of Education are long overdue and this is a pretty good start to returning education to the states. Also, the budget incentivizes school choice by spending around $1.4 billion in grants for expanded school choice opportunities.
- It does include money for border security, but not nearly enough. After the MAJOR failure to get funding for the wall in the last budget, this was a chance to write in their own funding for the wall, for which they claimed $4.1 billion was needed in March. Not only did they not get the $4.1 billion, but they aren’t using all of the $2.6 billion in the budget proposal for this purpose. Out of that $2.6 billion, $1 billion is going to other forms of border security, so the real number is around $1.6 billion. They will need MUCH more than that to fund the wall.
- It hardly increases military spending. It’s a 10% increase worth around $54 billion. It’s good because it includes a 2.1% increase in pay for our military members, which is a little more that President Obama intended to do. It’s bad because it’s not really too big of an increase. The proposed 10% increase is only about 3% higher than the increase Obama was proposing. This small increase certainly couldn’t fund President Trump’s initial military plans.
- It doesn’t touch Social Security or Medicare. This isn’t really surprising because Trump has been saying since the beginning that he wasn’t going to touch either. The bad part is these two entitlements make up nearly half of the budget. Until these entitlements are dealt with, balancing the budget is going to be extremely difficult.
- It starts the $1 trillion investment in infrastructure. This proposal gives $200 billion to a campaign promise that Trump preached from early on. Many people question if this huge uptick in spending is even necessary; like Aaron Bandler from the Daily Wire who wrote a nice piece on why our infrastructure isn’t crumbling. Let’s hope the conservatives in Congress can roll pack some of this spending.
- It creates a mandatory 6-week paid family leave plan. This plan would cost $25 billion over the next decade. The Democrats will love it, but it will be tough to get many conservatives on board, so it will likely change. It requires states to pay for the family leave and will likely result in many states raising their taxes to afford it. This is undoubtedly Ivanka’s influence at work. She has been an advocate for family leave since she began to gain influence and it looks like it’s paid off.
President Trump is keeping to his usual form with this new budget proposal; there’s some good and there’s some bad. Some of these proposals are great for conservatives, some are great for Democrats, and some are meh. The main thing to remember is that this is just a wishlist. Congress will modify, tinker, and rewrite most of this proposal. The true test will be if our conservative members of Congress will stand up for the good in this bill and fight for it against the Democrats. The GOP has yet to prove itself as a governing party, maybe they can find their way and stand up for the conservative values that they preach to get re-elected.