World

Trump budget to face skepticism, overwhelming politics

Washington-Confronted with the threat of trillion-dollar-plus deficits for as far as the eye can see, President Donald Trump is offering a USD 4.8 trillion budget plan for the upcoming fiscal year that rehashes previously rejected spending cuts while leaving Social Security and Medicare benefits untouched.

Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget plan, to be released Monday, isn’t likely to generate a serious Washington dialogue about what to do, if anything this election year, about entrenched fiscal problems that have deficits surging despite a healthy economy.

The new budget, according to senior administration aides and a copy of summary tables, sees a USD 1.08 trillion b udget deficit for the ongoing budget year and a USD 966 billion deficit gap in the 2021 fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

The budget’s most significant policy prescriptions — an immediate 5% cut to non-defense agency budgets passed by Congress and USD 700 billion in cuts to Medicaid over a decade — are nonstarters on Capitol Hill.

But the Trump budget is a blueprint written as if Trump could enact it without congressional approval. It relies on rosy economic projections and fanciful claims of future cuts to domestic programs to show that it is possible to bend the deficit curve in the right direction.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that “once again the president is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security and well-being of hard-working American families.” “Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on,” she said in a statement.

“Americans’ quality, affordable health care will never be safe with President Trump.”    The budget would reduce the deficit to USD 261 billion within a decade if enacted in its entirety and promises balance after 15 years. Trump’s budget blueprint also assumes 2.8 per cent economic growth this year and growth averaging 3 per cent over the long term.

The reality is that no one — Trump, the Democratic-controlled House or the GOP-held Senate — has any interest in tackling a chronic budget gap that forces the government to borrow 22 cents of every dollar it spends.

Trump’s reelection campaign, meanwhile, is focused on the economy and the historically low jobless rate while ignoring the government’s budget.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats controlling the House have seen their number of deficit-conscious “Blue Dogs” shrink while the roster of lawmakers favoring costly “Medicare for All” and “Green New Deal” proposals has swelled.