Trump releases budget hitting his own voters hardest
The president’s proposal for next year’s federal spending calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, including farm aid.
Donald Trump, whose populist message and promises to help American workers propelled him to the White House, issued a budget proposal on Tuesday that instead takes aim at the social safety net on which many of his supporters rely.
Rather than breaking with Washington precedent, Trump’s spending blueprint follows established conservative orthodoxy, cutting taxes on the wealthy, boosting defense spending and taking a hatchet to programs for the poor and disabled – potentially hurting many of the rural and low-income Americans who voted him into office.
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The budget proposal underscores the wide gulf between campaigning and governing, even for a president who promised to rewrite the presidential rule book.
The president’s budget plan calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to a wide range of social programs with millions of beneficiaries, from farm subsidies to federal student aid. That includes a $600 billion cut to Medicaid over 10 years, despite Trump’s repeated promises on the campaign trail not to cut the program. The budget also takes an ax to the federal food stamp program and Social Security Disability Insurance.
Trump also proposes some of the deepest cuts to agriculture subsidies since Ronald Reagan, squeezing out nearly $50 billion over 10 years.
Trump’s budget would drastically cut domestic programs controlled by Congress, slashing $1.7 trillion over 10 years. At the end of the decade, the U.S. would spend nearly twice as much on defense as on other domestic programs. Domestic discretionary spending would be capped at $429 billion per year, below 2004 levels, while military spending soars to $722 billion.
The annual budget proposal – which has no chance of becoming law as proposed even though Republicans control Congress because GOP lawmakers write their own budget – serves as a starting point for negotiations and as a messaging document for the president and his party.
“There’s a certain philosophy wrapped up in the budget and that is — we are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, one of the budget’s chief architects, told reporters on Monday. “We’re not going to measure our success by how much money we spend, but by how many people we actually help.”
Mulvaney rejected accusations that Trump’s budget unfairly targets the poor, arguing instead that it amounts to a broad rethink of the country’s welfare system.
“We need folks to work. We need people to go to work. If you’re on food stamps, and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work. If you’re on disability insurance and you’re not supposed to be, we need you to work,” he added. “There’s a dignity to work, and there’s a necessity to work.”
Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman and founding member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has long sought dramatic cuts to Medicaid and other programs.
Mulvaney said the budget does not touch “mainline” or “core” Social Security, but it does cut Social Security’s disability insurance. The White House is also leaning on anti-fraud programs to save billions of dollars in Medicare.
The White House plans to heavily promote its commitment to Social Security and Medicare, though its attempt to eliminate the federal deficit while largely preserving those entitlement programs — which together make up the bulk of federal spending — will leave behind a path of destruction for other safety net programs.
Trump’s budget would tighten the belt on programs for low-income families ranging from cash assistance to the child tax credit. Nearly $200 billion in cuts will come directly from the federal food stamp program, which helps feed 44 million people each year.
Trump would also slash $72 billion by tightening the rules for programs for people with disabilities — programs that Trump’s advisers have described as riddled with fraud and abuse. A federal watchdog, however, found last year that 17 anti-fraud programs already exist.
source : http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/22/trump-budget-cut-social-programs-238696?lo=ap_d1