Society

Trump Budget Aims To Cut Non-Defense Spending

| by Robert Fowler

The administration of President Donald Trump has asserted that its budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018 would balance the federal budget within a decade through a combination of dramatic reductions to non-defense discretionary spending and an expectation of sustained economic growth.

On May 22, the Trump administration unveiled its 2018 budget, which called for $3.6 trillion reduction in federal spending by 2027. Congressional appropriators would have to approve of President Donald Trump's proposals for them to go into effect.

The Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney explained to reporters that nearly a third of those cuts would come from reducing non-military federal spending each year by 2 percent, the Washington Examiner reports.

"Every single year we see those reduced by two cents on the dollar, every single year," Mulvaney explained of Trump's plan.

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In fiscal year 2017, non-defense discretionary spending amounted to $619 billion. The administration's budget proposal would gradually reduce non-defense discretionary spending to $429 billion in 2027, a drop-off of more than 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the proposal calls for adding $469 billion to defense spending over the course of the next decade.

The Trump budget's goal of closing the federal budget deficit by 2027 hinges on the administration's projection of the U.S. gross domestic product growing by 3 percent annually. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the GDP to only grow by 1.9 percent in the foreseeable future.

Mulvaney blasted the CBO findings, asserting that the Trump budget would stimulate an economic upswing that would exceed expectations.

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"The CBO assumes that we'll never grow at more than 1.9 percent again," Mulvaney said. "That assumes a pessimism about America, about the economy, about its people, about its culture that we're simply refusing to accept."

Former OMB Director David A. Stockman, who served in the administration of former President Ronald Reagan, blasted Mulvaney's projection of 3 percent growth.

"I see no way that's going to remotely happen," Stockman told The New York Times. "It assumes you're going to go 206 months without a recession, which has never happened."

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan policy group, released a statement criticizing the Trump administration's budget, asserting that its plan to bridge the spending gap was based on magical thinking.

"While we appreciate the administration's focus on reducing the debt, when using more realistic assumptions, the president’s budget does not add up," CRFB President Maya MacGuineas said, according to Newsweek.

On May 23, House Speaker Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, praised the Trump administration for seeking to balance the budget.

"Clearly Congress will take that budget and then work on our own budget, which is the case every single year but at least we now have common objectives: grow the economy, balance the budget, so we are now on that common ground and we will have a great debate about the details and how to achieve those goals," Ryan said, according to CBS News.

Sources: CBS NewsThe New York Times, NewsweekWashington Examiner / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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