Candidate Trump regularly talked about the federal debt and deficits with lines like, “we’re gonna knock it down and we’re going to bring it down big league and quickly…we’re going to stop the deficits, we’re going to do it very quickly.”
Compare that line to the reality of an early Trump presidency, and we have another elected official who appears to have misled the electorate; who said what voters wanted to here.
A leak of some details of Trump’s first budget became available today and reveal a bit of a problem for Trump supporters. Indications are that taxpayers in America can expect ongoing yearly deficits and more federal debt under a Trump budget.
Trump is talking about a 10 percent jump in defense spending offset by cuts at the Education Dept, Dept of State, and the EPA. Trump isn't talking about cuts in mandatory spending. Trump is talking about cutting corporate tax revenues in half. Trump is talking about new infrastructure spending, and building the wall. Trump’s words don’t match balanced budget math.
Trump is started down the wrong path already by rejecting cuts to Social security and Medicaid. In order to move towards a balanced budget, then a surplus, and then beginning to pay down debt mandatory spending must included in the calculation.
Mandatory spending in FY16 was $2.4 trillion. Discretionary spending was $1.2 trillion with the defense department accounting for $584 billion, or 49% of total discretionary spending. The deficit for FY16 was $600 billion. To balance the budget on just discretionary spending would require a 50 percent reduction in defense spending and a 50 percent reduction in spending on transportation, education, veterans benefits, health, housing assistance, among other things. It can’t be done.
If we give Trump one area to increase the budget in FY17, a $54 billion increase in the defense budget to $638B, than we have to cut $654 billion to eliminate the deficit and balance the budget. The non-defense discretionary budget balance is only $562 billion; not enough.
The only way to balance the budget, without raising taxes, and begin to pay down the national debt is by including mandatory spending cuts.
Only by cutting mandatory and non-defense discretionary spending by something between 20-25 percent can Trump-the-candidate pledges be met.
For Trump’s team to publicly say they intend to balance the budget, or eliminate the yearly deficit without cutting Social Security and Medicare is fake news, dishonest, and represents a broken campaign promise.
Trump has been keen to remind the media he is keeping the promises made on the campaign trail; I’m not so sure. So far there are disappointments to be found with his actions on immigration, Obamacare, draining the swamp, and now very obviously the budget and the associated debt and deficits.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!