A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Commentary: Trump budget proposal would harm Kentuckians, push massive costs onto state

By Jason Bailey
Special to KyForward

President Trump’s budget slashes nutrition, health care, and other important assistance that helps hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians meet basic living standards – food on the table, a roof over their heads, and access to health care – while giving new tax breaks to the wealthy and powerful.

The budget stands in stark contrast to the commitments the President made during his campaign to help those left behind by today’s economy. It would also shift massive costs to Kentucky at a time when our state is already struggling to meet needs for education, health care, pensions and other building blocks of thriving communities.

For example, the President’s budget would:

• Slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) by $193 billion over 10 years targeting the elderly, working families and workers struggling to find a job — and shifting the cost of more than $100 billion of SNAP benefits, a long time federal responsibility, to states.

• Cut $600 billion from Medicaid over 10 years — on top of the already-massive cuts in Medicaid and subsidies for private coverage included in the House-passed bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that President Trump supports and incorporates into his budget. These additional cuts almost certainly would further increase the number of uninsured Kentuckians and would shift additional, significant Medicaid costs to Kentucky on top of the $16 billion cost shift in the House health bill.

• Cut disability programs by $72 billion, including Social Security Disability Insurance, for workers with disabilities and their families, and Supplemental Security Income, which provides income assistance to poor individuals, including children, with disabilities – breaking the President’s promise not to cut Social Security.

• Deeply cut investments that expand opportunity and spur long-term economic growth, from job training to education to scientific research. The budget would cut funding for this part of the budget by $54 billion in 2018 alone. The proposed cuts grow far deeper over the decade – the President is proposing for this part of the budget to be cut by more than 40 percent as compared to 2017 after adjusting for inflation. These cuts would take funding for this part of the budget to its lowest level since the Hoover Administration as a share of the economy.

At the same time, the President is proposing massive tax cuts largely for the wealthy and corporations that would likely cost several trillion dollars over the coming decade, if honestly measured. The budget relies on unrealistic economic assumptions, gimmicks, and huge “magic asterisks” to hide that the President’s tax cuts would dramatically increase deficits and debt.

As Congress prepares to advance its own budget plans, our Congressional delegation must not simply oppose the Trump budget. They must oppose any Congressional budget plan that follows the same architecture.

They must oppose cuts to assistance that helps millions of Americans achieve a basic living standard. They must oppose cuts to investments in long-run economic growth and basic public services. And they must oppose massive tax cuts to the nation’s wealthiest.


Jason Bailey is founder and Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy. He is the author of numerous reports and analyses of economic and fiscal issues facing the Commonwealth

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