Trump’s budget bears no relationship to reality, but it contains some key departures from his biggest promises

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump
Getty Images/Pool

  • President Donald Trump released his fiscal year 2019 budget on Monday.
  • The budget contains proposed reversals on some of Trump’s long-held promises.
  • For example, it includes cuts to Medicare despite Trump saying he would not cut the program.
  • The budget has even less sway than usual, since Congress already agreed to a two-year budget plan last week.

President Donald Trump unveiled his newest budget proposal on Monday, one that will have little sway in Congress but features some notable departures from some of his longest-held promises.

The budget has no chance of being enacted into law, since Congress just las week agreed to the outline of a two-year spending plan. But some notable aspects of the plan that that reveal the administration’s priorities.

For one, the budget would maintain a deficit despite Trump’s campaign-era promise to eliminate the shortfalls. Over a 10-year period, the budget would lead to a deficit of just over $7 trillion, a reversal from Trump’s plan last year that showed a balanced budget.

Additionally, the budget contains cuts to funding for Medicare and other social safety net programs. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to cut funding to these programs.

While Medicare’s funding would increase, its growth would be slower than current projections for the program, which helps the disabled and elderly access healthcare. In total, the budget aims to reduce costs by $237 billion.

In total, social programs would see a $1.7 trillion cut, while defense spending would jump by $74 billion from the current baseline.

Several budget outlays do coincide with Trump’s policy goals – including $18 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico and $5 billion to combat the opioid crisis.

The budget also includes funding for the separate infrastructure proposal that was also released by the White House on Monday.

Some other highlights from the budget:

  • Assumes nominal GDP growth of between 4.9% and 5.1% every year from 2019 to 2028 and real GDP growth between 2.8% and 3.1%.
  • Includes $782 million to hire and support 2,750 new border patrol and ICE agents.
  • Assumes that Obamacare is repealed and is replaced by a block grant system similar to the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill that failed to earn enough support for a vote in the Senate.

In the end, said Chris Kreuger, an analysts at Cowen Washington Research Group, the budget represents little more than political showmanship for the White House.

“Presidential budgets are a yearly aspirational exercise that result in maximum headlines and minimal legislation,” Krueger said in a note to clients. “We would expect the same this year, which will be further muddled by the same day inclusion of a separate $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill.”