Donald Trump

Trump's Budget Follows in the Footsteps of Giant Spenders

It’s a testament to fiscal irresponsibility.

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President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal year 2021 budget has been released. Generally, budget documents are more of a statement about priorities and aspirations than of anything else. This proposal is typical: It's full of unrealistic assumptions, as well as "savings" that will never happen. It is, in short, a testament to fiscal irresponsibility. Unfortunately, when you use more realistic assumptions and take politics into consideration, you are left with a lot of spending.

What this budget tells us is that this Republican president is a big spender. Under it, the federal government would spend $4.8 trillion in fiscal year 2021. That's 21 percent ($850 billon) more than when Trump took office, confirming that Republican presidents can't be trusted to restore fiscal sanity.

After adjusting 2009 spending levels to remove the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the stimulus bill—which affected both President Barack Obama's and President George Bush's budgets, as well as excluding interest paid on the debt—the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards shows that during Trump's first term, he displayed the same proclivity to jack up spending as his Republicans predecessors. The data shows that Trump increased defense spending in real terms by 18 percent, with an overall spending growth rate of 10 percent. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush increased defense spending by 28 percent and 36 percent, respectively (and overall spending by 9 percent and 24 percent). Compared with their Republican counterparts, Democratic presidents Obama and Bill Clinton look frugal.

Unlike Bush or Reagan, however, Trump has had a booming economy, no new wars, and no terrorist attacks since his term began. This context makes the massive increase in spending, along with the $1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2020, even more shocking. With no serious changes, the Congressional Budget Office projects that these annual budget deficits will stay well above $1 trillion in the next 10 years.

To be fair, the president does plan to balance the budget eventually—in 2035. To achieve this goal, Trump proposes some $4.4 trillion in savings over 10 years, which is a step in the right direction. For instance, according to Marc Goldwein at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this the budget would save Medicare $600 billion, reducing national health expenditures by almost $1 trillion. As Goldwein noted on Twitter, "That means lower premiums and out of pocket costs—don't demagogue these policies!" Unfortunately, judging by the news headlines and reactions by Democrats in Congress, these savings are likely dead on arrival.

To achieve such savings, some very unrealistic assumptions would need to materialize. For instance, while the economy grew 2.4 percent in 2017, 2.9 percent in 2018 and 2.3 percent in 2019, the White House projects that the economy will grow at about 2.8 percent annually for a decade straight. The budget also counts on interest rates staying low, so as to not massively increase the amount of interest payments that will have to be made. The low interest rate, paired with the planned savings, would lower interest costs by $300 billion. Unfortunately, this is a mirage. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, "Using more realistic economic assumptions, the budget deficit would be about $1.2 trillion (3.7 percent of GDP) in 2030," as opposed to the $261 billion projected by the White House.

Another reason why this budget is unlikely to get through Congress is that the administration focuses its biggest reductions on nondefense discretionary spending. The plan is to cut projected spending on domestic programs by roughly $2 trillion. These "cuts" are mostly to the projected growth of spending increases, not reductions in the actual amount of spending. Still, to make the savings politically viable, the burden should be distributed enough to inspire a sense of shared sacrifice. Instead, the budget plans to extend the 2017 tax cuts at a cost of $1.4 trillion and increases military spending, making the cuts harder to stomach for some.

At the end of the day, and after much spilled ink analyzing the budget proposal, we can count on one thing: This actual budget won't see the light of day. Instead, Congress and the administration will continue in the footsteps of those who came before them and increase the debt while pretending to be fiscally responsible.

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  4. This actual budget won’t see the light of day.
    So a budget that really cut spending would sail through Congress?

    1. You mean the House run by a majoritu that called the President’s budget proposal “cruel” for spending too little?

      1. No no no. He means the House who impeached him for spending 5 days late.

  5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-planning-to-divert-additional-72-billion-in-pentagon-funds-for-border-wall/2020/01/13/59080a3a-363d-11ea-bb7b-265f4554af6d_story.html

    Trump planning to divert additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for border wall

    Congress’s budget numbers (assignments, allocations) are meaningless if Trump just moves the funds around at will, anyway…

    Hey, the Mexicans are paying for the wall, right? Have Congress allocate the WHOLE STINKIN’ BUDGET to that “Big, beautiful wall”… Then get the Mexicans to pay for that ENTIRE BUDGET! (After we get the money from Mexico, we can shuffle SOME few of those funds back to national defense, the courts, spying on the citizens, and enforcing laws about cheap plastic flutes, etc.)

    1. Democrats should tear down anything this criminal mfer builds especially that wall.

      1. They will. Democrats are now basically on board with the immigration agenda favored by people with net worths of $50,000,000,000 and above.

        #OpenBorders
        #BillionairesKnowBest

      2. But they ARE tearing down or at least trying to tear down everything and anything this President does or says. So you ARE already living inside your perfect reality.

      3. C’mon Pod….you’re outing yourself again.

      4. Does this include the First Step Act?
        The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture act?

      5. From what we have seen it may fall down on its own. Or be cut open by the people it was intended to stop. Would it not be ironic if some enterprising people cut it down, haul it off and sell it for scrap metal.

    2. You missed the George Ramos interview this week, huh dummy? The one about mexico creating a virtual wall and using their military resources to stop caravans. Weird. You uninformed. Who could imagine!

      1. Have they gone back to shooting Guatemalans that try to cross Mexico’s southern border? Which is how they used to deal with their Indio problem. No love lost between Mexicans and Guatemalans, especially the Mexican ruling class.

    3. By the way… you only post WaPo and The Atlantic… yet claim to be a libertarian. You’re basically just a shit eating version of Jeff or Pod.

      1. You lust all day every day after a Trumptatorship… Unbounded and infinite power to Trump! And you never, ever take it back!

        Have you ever claimed to be a libertarian? And NOT a fascist? If you HAVE claimed to be a libertarian, I sure hope that your lies aren’t fooling anyone!

  6. Neither major party will reduce spending. And one major party — the Democratic Party — has almost fully embraced the Koch / Reason open borders agenda.

    The choice in November is clear. For the sake of our benefactor Charles Koch and the other richest people on the planet, principled libertarians must #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.

    #ImmigrationAboveAll

  7. And the refugee visas should handed out like candy to make up for the evil influence this sob has had over that process.

    1. When Bernie Sanders becomes President let’s start by exiling Dear Leader’s high-end prostitute wife. Back to Slovakastan with you, ugly-on-the-inside toad. That’s the kind of immigration plan I can get behind.

    2. Yes lets punish Americans because you don’t like bipartisan immigration policy

  8. Poll: Which is worse on Reason.com? Spammers or GOP fanboys? Please explain your answer.

    1. Your attempt at parody.

      1. OT….Can you believe this shit with COVID-2019? Reason did a couple of articles, and poof….down the memory hole.

        Given the blatant lying by China regarding this epidemic, how on earth are we supposed to trust them on trade?

        1. “Can you believe this shit with COVID-2019?”

          What shit, in particular, XY? They’re having a really rough time with a bug that looks like it preferentially affects Asian man versus other people. They’ve also probably maxed out the measuring limits of how many cases they can confirm a day, and are consequentially classifying many of the cases as plain pneumonia, other co-morbidities, or just not classifying the sick at all.

        2. “…Given the blatant lying by China regarding this epidemic, how on earth are we supposed to trust them on trade?…”

          I’m reminded of the conundrum: ‘If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we cure the common cold?’

    2. GOP fanboys are the worst… At least, the ones who show ZERO balance or humility. I see SOME significant fraction of GOP fanboys who will at least be honest and limited in their claims, and admit that Trump isn’t perfect. I have no significant beefs with them. It is the Trumptatorship addicts and liars (JesseSPAZ in particular) that I do NOT want to see taking this place over!

      No-humility leftists are a real “thang” as well, but they don’t show up very much here, compared to GOP fanboys…

      Humility is a virtue, people! It is under-appreciated these days!!! (It does NOT mean being a doormat; it means having a realistic image of oneself as an imperfect being in an imperfect world).

      1. “”GOP fanboys are the worst… At least, the ones who show ZERO balance or humility.””

        I didn’t know Hillary was a GOP fanboy.

        1. “Character” comes out in strange ways at times… Bill and Hillary (especially Hillary) talked at times about how “poor” and “broke” they were, after Bill’s stint as POTUS… Then they go and spend $6 to $7 million or so on Chelsea’s wedding!!! (So yeah, Hillary and Billary had / have very little humility or decency in their character, IMHO).

      2. Kill yourself Squirrelly. You aren’t even a real human. Deep down you know this. You have to shitpost, and lie about being a veteran. And as if you could ever be an officer.

        Everyone laughs at you when you post that bullshit. I don’t think even a degenerate progtard like Tony would bother to sodomize your pathetic ass. You make malignant tumors look good by comparison.

        In closing, no one loves you, or ever could. So there’s no reason for you to stick around. Just do it. It’s the libertarian thing for you to do.

        1. Libertarians for worshiping Jimmy Jones and drinking the Kool-Aid…

          How’s that workin’ for ya? Gaining many followers yet?

          1. Why are you still alive? I’m not interested in anything you have to say. Neither is anyone else.

            1. Only arrogant authoritarians announce that “The Royal We” speaks for EVERYONE.

              But then again, yes, Shitsy ***IS*** demonstrably an arrogant authoritarian! Trump = MAGA-America; Hitler = Germany; Shitsy Shitler = EVERYONE in the Universe!

              More news at 11:00!

              1. Suicide time. No ore comments. Other than your suicide note.

                Bye bye now. Time to die.

                1. I disobey the Evil One, and it’s Minions, to include Hitler, Shitsy Shitler, Stalin, and Jimmy Jones! Take your Kool-Aid and FLUSH it!

                  1. You’re evil, and I’m good. This is why you should kill yourself.

    3. Poll: Which lefty fucking ignoramus is most obnoxious?
      Don’t bother with an explanation; none required.

      1. Let them all go with God. And most importantly, away from here.

  9. RCP Average 1/15 – 2/9 49.3 45.0 Sanders +4.3

    People still prefer the prospect of a frozen gulag to 4 more years of Dear Leader’s bullshit. I’m on the fence. Yeah, he’s a repulsive liar and a serial sexual predator who makes me vomit (or laugh) when he talks, but— hey— he gave rich elitist Californians like me a tax cut so doesn’t that balance things out?

    1. The more you bitch, the more obvious it is to the rest of us just how fucked you (and the consonant explosion, and SQURLSY, etc…) are. Both mentally, and for the prospect of any of your worthless, collectivist candidates being able to defeat Donald Trump.

      Cry some more. It’s not like this comment section is already impossible to read because of all of the garbage you and the other trolls spew.

      1. How do you write such sterling prose? HOW can we be more like YOU?

        Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

        So I discussed your awesome talents with some dear personal friends on the Reason staff… Accordingly…

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        Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

        Obviously, you are a silver-tongued orator, and you also know how to translate your spectacular talents to the written word! We at Reason have need for writers like you, who have near-magical persuasive powers, without having to write at great, tedious length, or resorting to boring facts and citations.

        At Reason, we pay above-market-band salaries to permanent staff, or above-market-band per-word-based fees to freelancers, at your choice. To both permanent staff, and to free-lancers, we provide excellent health, dental, and vision benefits. We also provide FREE unlimited access to nubile young groupies, although we do firmly stipulate that persuasion, not coercion, MUST be applied when taking advantage of said nubile young groupies.

        Please send your resume, and another sample of your writings, along with your salary or fee demands, to ReasonNeedsBrilliantlyPersuasiveWriters@Reason.com .

        Thank You! -Reason Staff

    2. Tell us how much the hag won by, scumbag.

      1. About 3%. You know the old anarchist saying, popularized by Emma Goldman, about voting. Yeah, that applies here.

        1. No, scumbag, she lost by something over 8%.
          We’re not talking about her win for ‘least pleasant person’ in her senior year, we’re discussing winning the election for POTUS.
          Fucking dead-beat scumbags can’t seem to figure that out.

  10. How much were the Democrats proposing we cut?

    1. That’s not a very high bar to judge Republicans against. Or are you agreeing that both sides are bad about spending?

    2. But…….,but…….. TRUMP!

  11. “At the end of the day, and after much spilled ink analyzing the budget proposal, we can count on one thing: This actual budget won’t see the light of day. Instead, Congress and the administration will continue in the footsteps of those who came before them and increase the debt while pretending to be fiscally responsible.”

    Do they really even “pretend” anymore?

    Our choice is to grow the government by 20% per year or double it (M4A, free education, etc).

    BOTH CHOICES SUCK.

    1. One side wants you to keep more of your money.

      And that side is vastly superior to the one that wants to take away more of it.

      1. All spending is really a tax. Either now, in the future, or through inflation. There’s really no way around that.

        The only real difference is that Republicans tend to let us keep money now, and hope the economic growth will pay for their increases in spending. While that’s preferred to what the Democrats always do, at the end of the day we still have $1T+ deficits.

        Republicans always say that we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. And they’re right in saying that. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to care much about the spending problem.

  12. Reason again strains to pretend that “both sides are equally bad” even as it knows that if Bernie had been elected in 2016, the proposal would call for about $12T in spending instead of $4.8T.

    Oh, and as always, we should remember that “mandatory” entitlement spending has grown faster than revenue since Trump took office, and none of that is subject to the budgeting process. Interest on the debt is also (obviously) increasing. In short, until the public has the will to take a knife to entitlements, it won’t matter what any one politician wants.

    And the public is nowhere close to that right now.

  13. “According to Marc Goldwein at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this the budget would save Medicare $600 billion, reducing national health expenditures by almost $1 trillion. As Goldwein noted on Twitter, “That means lower premiums and out of pocket costs—don’t demagogue these policies!” Unfortunately, judging by the news headlines and reactions by Democrats in Congress, these savings are likely dead on arrival.”

    With all respect to De Rugy, this fact seems to contradict the headline that Trump’s budget is, “a testament to fiscal irresponsibility”. Slashing entitlement spending is a brave thing to do under normal circumstances–even more so in an election year.

    In regards to the Medicare cuts, is it possible that this was a typo and it should be about Medicaid rather than Medicare? I’ve read a lot about Trump’s proposed cuts to Medicaid. This is the first I’ve heard about cuts to Medicare. In regards to Trump’s proposals being dead on arrival with the Democrats in the House, I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m not even sure that some of Trump’s most dramatic cuts to Medicaid require further approval by Congress.

    “States will have the ability to scale back Medicaid spending by converting part of their Medicaid funding into a block grant under a new Trump administration program announced Thursday.

    A letter to state Medicaid directors outlines how states can undertake the drastic, controversial change that conservatives have eyed for years.

    . . . .

    The program — branded as the “Healthy Adult Opportunity” — will allow states to ask permission to end their traditional, open-ended Medicaid program and put hard caps on how much money states and the federal government will spend on the poor and disabled.

    Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma has made state flexibility a priority during her tenure running the agency. During a call with reporters, she said states have been asking for the ability to be more innovative.

    “It’s a bit of a D.C.-centric idea that only D.C. will do the right thing,” she said.

    The block grant will apply to the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion population’s “able-bodied” people. Advocates argue this gives an incentive for GOP governors in expansion states to roll back benefits and spending.

    Anyone who is covered by traditional state Medicaid programs, disabled or eligible for long-term care is excluded. Other low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities will also be excluded.

    —-The Hill, January 30, 2020

    https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/480650-trump-administration-to-allow-medicaid-block-grants

    This appears to apply to only the portion of Medicaid that was expanded to cover able bodied adults in the ACA. If the Democrats didn’t want to give the authority the president to make these kinds of decisions, then they shouldn’t have voted for ObamaCare in the first place or they should have voted to repeal it in its entirety.

    There are several states that want to make eligibility for Medicaid to able bodied adults contingent on a work requirement, and I can hardly think of a better way to slash federal spending on a socialist wealth redistribution scheme in an election year. There are plenty of jobs out there, and if you want the U.S. taxpayer to give you free healthcare, there’s no good reason why able-bodied adults shouldn’t be required to at least have a job in order to qualify for Medicaid.

    Lastly, it should be noted that condemning Trump’s budget as a testament to fiscal irresponsibility is a little absurd in an election year considering what the front runners in Democratic contest for the nomination are proposing. Have you seen the bill for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and student loan forgiveness? Trump’s budget was not proposed in a vacuum. If Trump’s budget proposal is fiscally irresponsible, how do you describe Bernie Sanders’ proposals?

    1. There are several states that want to make eligibility for Medicaid to able bodied adults contingent on a work requirement, and I can hardly think of a better way to slash federal spending on a socialist wealth redistribution scheme in an election year.

      That sort of proposal has absolutely nothing to do with reducing spending on Medicaid and everything to do with getting votes in states where kicking the poor around (eg by saying that poor people should be the ones who are financially responsible for the ‘disabled’ or ‘middle-class elderly long-term care’ risk pool) gets lots of votes.

      Fact is that most non-elderly adults on Medicaid ARE working – 44% full-time, 19% part-time, 30% disabled, 7% not working

      And if you look at who is sucking hardest on that Medicaid teat it is:
      The disabled who spend an average of $17K/beneficiary
      The elderly (long-term care) who spend an average of $13k/beneficiary
      Other adults who spend an average of $3.2k/beneficiary
      Children who spend an average of $2.5k/beneficiary.

      And the latter two groups have a huge variance by state – depending on whether the states implement managed care (NOT work requirement which doesn’t have shit to do with their medical spending – unless the point is to play gotcha by forcing them to cancel dr appts cuz they have to work instead) – from under $2k/adult in CA to under $2k for children in WI/FL. That is FAR lower than the average spending for other adults/children – because managed care actually reduces spending/utilization.

      1. “That sort of proposal has absolutely nothing to do with reducing spending on Medicaid and everything to do with getting votes in states where kicking the poor around (eg by saying that poor people should be the ones who are financially responsible for the ‘disabled’ or ‘middle-class elderly long-term care’ risk pool) gets lots of votes.”

        I agree that that the work requirement makes it more palatable for President Trump to introduce it in an election year, but just because he dressed those cuts to Medicaid up pretty doesn’t mean they aren’t cuts to Medicaid.

        Eligibility is a serious issue, and if they restrict eligibility, it will come with reduced costs.

        “The federal government pays between 50% and 76% of the cost for the disabled, children, pregnant women and elderly. But the feds pick up 90% of the tab for individuals earning up to 138% of the poverty line. Spend $1, get $9 free.

        No surprise, states spend more liberally on these people. According to CMS, Medicaid on average spends about 16% more per capita on ObamaCare expansion beneficiaries than other eligible adults. As the federal cost-share has declined to 90% from 100% in the early ObamaCare years for these new beneficiaries, state fiscs are being squeezed.”

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-medicaid-benefit-11580775465?

        Because the cuts to a socialist wealth redistribution plan are only as strong as the voters will tolerate doesn’t mean it should be rejected. If that 10% of costs the states are forced to pay is too much for the voters in the state to bear, why should they be forced to pay it over their objections and against their will? They should definitely more power of their own budgets–and those block grants will allow states in their particular situations to restrict benefits as the taxpayers see fit. No doubt, if anybody’s entitlement to Medicaid benefits should be cut, it’s able bodied adults who can’t be bothered to get a job. And that, too, makes Trump’s plan to trim Medicaid more popular than it would be otherwise.

        . . . but just because the way Trump is cutting Medicaid is more popular than just slashing funding for the program across the board, like when he fought to cut $772 billion from Medicaid in H.R. 1628, doesn’t mean that Trump’s block grants for Medicaid program isn’t cutting Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover millions more able bodied adults by way of ObamaCare dramatically increased the cost of the Medicaid program, and Trump allowing states to restrict eligibility for able bodied adults to go on Medicaid will have the effect of cutting the cost of Medicaid to lower than it would be otherwise.

  14. Gee, do you think Reason could, once in a while, write something about Trump?
    I mean, when he was a candidate, there must have been 10 stories a day about him; now it’s dropped to only 15/day or so.

    1. Reason, when there’s a republican president and a democratic congress: “this republican president is the worst big spender ever.”

      Also Reason, when there’s a democratic president and a republican congress: “these republicans in congress are the worst big spenders ever.”

      Also Reason, when a republican actually proposes cutting almost anything: “no, you’re not allowed to cut THAT, you’re only allowed to cut defense spending and nothing else!!!”

      It’s not too hard to see a pattern here, is it?

  15. These “cuts” are mostly to the projected growth of spending increases, not reductions in the actual amount of spending.

    So those who accuse Trump of cutting welfare either do not know what they are talking about- or they are lying.

    1. If cutting growth so that the costs aren’t as high as they would be otherwise isn’t really “cutting”, does letting the costs rise as they would without any cuts in growth not count against him?

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  17. So… I originally read the headline as:

    “Trump’s Budget Follows in the Footsteps of Giant *Spiders*”

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