Donald Trump’s $4trn budget pushes US deficit higher

Donald Trump’s $4trn budget pushes US deficit higher

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President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump is proposing a four trillion dollar-plus (€3.2trn) US budget for next year.
The measure projects a $1trn (€0.8trn) federal deficit and – unlike the plan Mr Trump released last year – never comes close to promising a balanced federal ledger, even after 10 years.

This is before last week’s $300bn (€244bn) budget pact is added this year and next, showering both the Pentagon and domestic agencies with big spending increases. The spending spree, along with last year’s tax cuts, has the deficit moving sharply higher with Republicans in control of Washington.

The original plan was for Mr Trump’s new budget to slash domestic agencies even further than last year’s proposal. Instead, it will land in US congress three days after he signed a two-year spending agreement that wholly rewrites both last year’s budget and the one to be released today.

The 2019 budget was originally designed to double down on last year’s proposals to slash foreign aid, the Environmental Protection Agency, home heating assistance and other non-defence programmes funded by US congress each year.

Jason Furman, a top economic adviser to former president Barack Obama, said: “A lot of presidents’ budgets are ignored. But I would expect this one to be completely irrelevant and totally ignored.
“In fact, Congress passed a law week that basically undid the budget before it was even submitted.”

In a preview of the 2019 budget, the White House focused on Mr Trump’s $1.5trn (€1.22trn) plan for the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. He also will ask for a $13bn (€10.6bn) increase over two years for opioid prevention, treatment and long-term recovery.

A request of $23b (€18.7bn) will be made for border security, including $18bn (€14.6bn) for a wall along the US-Mexico border. Money for more detention beds for detained immigrants is also part of the budget.

Mr Trump would again spare Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare as he promised during the 2016 campaign. And while his plan would reprise last year’s attempt to scuttle the “Obamacare” health law and sharply cut back the Medicaid programme for the elderly, poor and disabled, Mr Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have signalled that there is no interest in tackling hot-button health issues during an election year.

Instead, the new budget deal and last year’s tax cuts herald the return of trillion dollar-plus deficits. Last year, Mr Trump’s budget predicted a $526bn (€429bn) budget deficit for the 2019 fiscal year starting on October 1; instead, it is set to easily exceed one trillion dollars once the cost of the new spending pact and the tax cuts are added to Congressional Budget Office projections.

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