Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning to defend President Trump’s 2019 budget.
“So it’s a great plan, but it also has serious deficit reduction […] It has over $3 trillion dollars in deficit reduction, which is the largest deficit reduction of a budget in terms of a 10-year outlay that we’ve ever seen,” he said. “It lays down a path toward fiscal responsibility, it allows us to keep this booming economy growing, and it funds this president’s priorities that he campaigned on and the American people voted for in support.”
The reality is far less rosy.
Trump’s budget proposes running a $900 billion dollar deficit into 2022, with the hope it would also reduce the deficit by more than $3 trillion dollars over the next decade, eventually bringing it down from 4.4 percent of GDP this year to 1.1 percent by 2028.
The budget will cut spending, specifically in non-defense discretionary spending, which helps fund everything from education programs to food stamps to public broadcast. It doesn’t, however, cut nearly enough to balance the budget within the traditional 10-year budget window. The proposal would add $7.2 trillion more to the debt over 10 years. The projections in the budget also envision very robust economic growth, so if the economy cools, the budgetary picture will get even worse.
This is, of course, made even more difficult by the trillion dollar hole left by the Republican tax plan and the half a trillion in increased spending Trump approved when he signed the two-year budget deal last week.
But the problem really isn’t the deficits. Running a deficit is fine, as long as the rich pay their fair share of taxes and social programs remain intact. Neither of which is true under the Trump administration. As HuffPost’s Zach Carter puts it, “Deficits are only scary if they threaten an amorphous crisis of unknowable proportions.”
The problem is running a deficit while Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House. The GOP will likely use large deficits as an excuse to later make further cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and social security to save money. Trump has already promised to make cuts to these programs in his budget.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also hinted at “entitlement reform” on the Fox Business Network Tuesday morning.
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) February 13, 2018
Republicans have had their eyes on cutting funding for these programs since before their trillion dollar tax plan was passed last year.
“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said in December of 2016. “… Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”