Fact of the Week: Three-Fifths of cuts in Trump budget come from programs for low- and moderate-income people


June 7, 2017

A new analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that roughly three-fifths of the $4.3 trillion of non-defense cuts in President Trump’s proposed FY18 budget come from programs assisting low- and moderate-income people. These programs, which help individuals and families, seniors, and children, account for just 29 percent of non-defense spending and just 24 percent of total program spending. Yet President Trump’s budget would get 59 percent of its cuts from them.
In total, the Trump Administration’s budget would cut programs that help our neighbors afford basic living standards and improve their circumstances by $2.5 trillion over 10 years. According to CBPP,

“No other modern President (including President Reagan when he proposed deep cuts to low-income programs in his first budget) has proposed a budget with cuts of this magnitude to programs assisting struggling families, even if the cuts are adjusted for inflation or measured as a percent of the economy.”

President Trump’s budget would cut Medicaid by $1.6 trillion over 10 years, including cuts that result from repealing the Affordable Care Act, thereby reducing federal Medicaid spending by nearly half by 2027. The budget would also cut $193 billion (more than 25 percent) from SNAP/food stamps, leaving millions of low-income children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities to worry about having food on the table. Discretionary (annually appropriated) programs would be slashed by $400 billion, eliminating housing vouchers for more than 250,000 struggling families and putting them at risk of homelessness, gutting job training programs, and ending help poor families need to heat and cool their homes. Spending on these non-defense discretionary programs in 2027 would fall to half of their 2010 levels under Trump’s plan. And let’s not forget that these “savings” are all so millionaires and big corporations can receive huge tax cuts; CBPP estimates that millionaires alone would receive tax cuts that could total more than $2 trillion over the next decade. Formore analyses on how harmful President Trump’s budget would be for America, see our FY18 budget resource page and this blog post.

The cuts in Trump’s budget would come on top of years of cuts to critical programs. Recent research by CHN showed that out of 167 programs that assist low-income people, 135 saw funding cuts from FY10 through FY17 after taking inflation into account. More than half of the programs were cut by 15 percent or more, and nearly one-third of the programs were slashed by 25 percent or more.

Trump’s budget isn’t a reality yet. And while many members of Congress – even many Republicans – have denounced the draconian cuts Trump proposed, we know better than to dismiss it and more on. For years, Republican leaders in the House and Senate have proposed budgets that were, while in some cases perhaps slightly less horrible than Trump’s, still horrible for low- and middle-income families. And in some cases, the House budgets have even been more horrible than Trump’s. The FY17 blueprint passed by the House Budget Committee last year made at least $3.5 trillion in cuts over a decade to programs that serve low-income and vulnerable people, including $449 billion in cuts to Medicare and $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid. It also turned SNAP/food stamps into a block grant. The FY16 House Budget Committee budget cut overall spending by at least $5 trillion over 10 years, slashing critical non-defense discretionary programs by hundreds of billions of dollars below the already-painfully-low sequester caps that were scheduled to be in place for FY17. It also cut Medicaid by more than $900 billion and turned Medicare into a voucher program.

That’s why we can’t let our guard down. And that why we have to let Congress know that we want a budget that works for all Americans, not just the wealthy and corporations. We want a budget that promotes economic opportunities for all, safeguards and advances our basic living standards, and protects our environment. If you haven’t yet done so, sign our letter (for local, state and national organizations) or our petition (for individuals) urging Congress to pass such a budget. Because while Trump’s budget may be DOA in Congress, the ideas contained in it unfortunately aren’t.

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