Proposed Trump Budget Cuts, Hurtful to the Poor, Spare Many Older People

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WASHINGTON — President Trump’s spending blueprint seeks to balance the federal budget through unprecedented cuts to programs for poor and working-class families, effectively pitting them against older Americans who would largely escape the budget ax.

In ways large and small, the budget, to be released Tuesday, seeks to curtail spending on poorer recipients of government largess. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known commonly as food stamps, would be cut by $192 billion over the next decade. Medicaid, the health program for the poor, would be cut by $800 billion, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as welfare, would be cut by $21 billion.

By requiring Social Security numbers to obtain tax refunds, the White House would also pare back the earned-income tax credit and child tax credit — wage supplements for the working poor. Mr. Trump also wants to make large cuts to educational programs aimed at helping often low-income students secure federal loans or grants, and he would cut access to disability payments through Social Security.

Taken together, the cuts represent a significant reordering of the social safety net, away from poor families and toward older Americans, regardless of income. Medicare would be untouched, and the main function of Social Security — retirement income — would flow unimpeded.

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A Budget That Works Only if Wishes Come True

WASHINGTON — In its inaugural budget, the Trump administration projected that booming economic growth would allow the president to keep a wide range of expensive campaign promises while eliminating federal deficits in 10 years.

It is wishful thinking.

The budget promises a deep tax cut for businesses and consumers that would not reduce federal revenue. An increase in military spending would be offset by trillions of dollars of unspecified or loosely sketched reductions in federal spending.

And it all works because the budget assumes an acceleration of economic growth to an annual pace of 3 percent a year, much higher than the post-recession average of 2 percent.

“I see no way that’s going to remotely happen,” said David A. Stockman, the budget director under President Ronald Reagan. He noted that the White House is depending on the continuation of an economic expansion that is already among the longest in American history. “It assumes you’re going to go 206 months without a recession, which has never happened,” he said. Not in the United States, at least.

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The Trump Blueprint’s Key Spending Cuts and Increases

The White House released more details of its federal budget proposal on Monday. It includes substantial cuts to Medicaid and other aid to the poor. Because it comes packaged with tax cuts, it assumes the economy will grow faster as a result and ultimately balance the budget by 2027. It is, however, unlikely to pass Congress as is.

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A Budget That Promises Little but Pain

If President Trump’s 2018 budget, to be unveiled on Tuesday, was worthy of praise, you can bet Mr. Trump would be in Washington to bask in it. But his overseas trip keeps him at a distance physically, if not politically.

As detailed in a preview on Monday by Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, the budget is a naked appeal to far-right Republicans aiming for a partisan rallying cry, even as a legislative victory most likely remains out of reach.

Of 13 major initiatives in the budget, nine are drastic spending cuts, mostly aimed at low-income Americans. The biggest of those, by far, is an $866 billion reduction over 10 years in health care spending, mostly from Medicaid. That would be achieved if the Senate approves the House bill to undo President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But many Senate Republicans oppose it; Senate Democrats are dead set against it and the vast majority of Americans don’t want it, and for good reason. It would deprive an estimated 10 million low-income Americans, many of them nursing home residents, of Medicaid benefits; it would also defund Planned Parenthood, reducing or ending health services to 2.5 million people, mainly women.

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