Donald Trump’s proposed budget has managed a major accomplishment. It has experts on both sides of the political aisle concerned and confused.
It’s a budget that would add an additional $11.5 trillion to the debt over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Trump’s proposal would build a burden that would ultimately drastically increase borrowing costs and weigh down the entire US economy, Politico reports.
There are wide swaths of Trump’s budget and policy proposals that Republicans have fully embraced, such as his “bare-bones” tax plan that would cut rates, particularly for those already earning a massive income, as well as his proposal to trim the national debt to zero in eight years, which would require slashing all federal spending by at least two-thirds — but even so, he would also have to ditch his proposed tax cuts. Yet Trump’s proposal has no such plan to do any of that. He will not cut any funding for Medicare or Social Security, which are the “main drivers” of federal spending, and he has built a great deal of his policy platform on slashing taxes.
None of it adds up. Taken together, Politico states, Trump’s budget and policy ideas are a “series of puzzle pieces that just don’t fit into a coherent whole, according to experts on both sides of the aisle.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2016
Lanhee Chen, policy director for Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign, states that he doesn’t believe Trump understands policy and his lack of understanding is concerning.
“I don’t know that he’s really taken the time to understand the complexities of some of these areas of policy. I am concerned about that.”
The idea behind Trump’s tax proposal is that it may possibly boost growth through a series of sharp reductions in rates, although history doesn’t lend that theory much credence, according to a 65-year study published by the Atlantic. But even with an optimistic view that slashing taxes to bare bones in a way that disproportionately favors the wealthy may stimulate some economic growth, it would still add a staggering, estimated $10 trillion to the debt, which should give at least some pause to conservatives.
And on the other side of the aisle, Democrats would certainly vehemently oppose the tax cuts, which they would not only see as a clear case of giving away to the wealthy but as cuts that would surely take away from federal monies used to pay for social programs.
In addition to ballooning the debt with his tax cuts, while stating there would be no cuts to either Medicare or Social Security, Trump has also pledged repeatedly to rebuild both the infrastructure and the military — both costly ideas.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 8, 2016
“Certainly with the promises he’s put out so far, he would do more damage to the fiscal position of the country than…any one set of policies that I’ve seen working on this issue,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the nonpartisan committee that analyzed Trump’s budget.
But Trump’s advisers prefer to view Trump’s policy plans as “non-traditional,” and they use it to bolster Trump’s “outsider status,” which has served him well so far.
“It’s kind of a question of whether people want to take the risk of change, or whether they feel good about the way the direction of the country is going,” said Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to the Trump campaign and a fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
A detailed analysis of Trump’s proposals has proved to be particularly difficult for a number of reasons. To begin with, Trump has yet to “fully flesh out” his proposals. Secondly, his policy statements are often incoherent.
For example, Trump repeatedly says that there is a need to cut “waste, fraud and abuse,” an idea that most could agree with, but he has not indicated in what instances he would actually cut government spending.
Furthermore, like the majority of other Republicans, Trump has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but doing that would increase budget deficits by $137 billion over the next decade alone, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It would also kick an estimated 18 million people off their current plans almost immediately, leaving them without coverage.
For more on Trump’s healthcare plan, click here.
An analysis from Moody’s Analytics is also sharply critical of Trump’s policies, finding that a Trump presidency would push the United States into a “lengthy recession,” citing a 3.5 million job loss, stagnant incomes, plummeting stock prices, and falling home values. Trump’s proposals, Moody states, are “fiscally unsound.”
The main drivers of economic harm, the analysis said, would be increased debt, higher interest rates, and, considering the proposed mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, a contracting labor force, as well as the impact of proposed tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports.
“As a matter of governance, he’s going to have to rethink some of these things,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, leader of the conservative American Action Forum.
(Image credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images)