President Trump in his first full budget says he will produce a surplus in a decade, though his fiscal pathway relies on projections of growth more optimistic than government and private-sector economists expect and deep cuts in anti-poverty programs such as Medicaid. The budget to be released Tuesday will show that the annual federal deficit, which was $585 billion in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, will steadily decline until fiscal year 2027, when the nation will have a $16-billion surplus -- the first since the start of the George W. Bush administration, though small in the context of what by then would be a nearly $6-trillion budget. Nonpartisan budget watchers and even many Republicans are sure to be skeptical. Trump promises to reach balance and even produce a small surplus while he is calling for the deepest tax cuts in history, hefty increases in military and homeland security spending, and no reductions in Medicare and Social Security, the entitlement programs that are a main driver of projected federal debt because of the aging population. According to budget documents made available to the Los Angeles Times, Trump would balance the budget in two ways.
WASHINGTON/INDIANAPOLIS – Several congressional Republicans are panning the emerging outlines of President Donald Trump's first budget, complaining that he's cutting too much from already lean department accounts while leaving untouched the massive benefit programs blamed for the nation's deficits. "The president has a saying, 'All talk, no action.' His budget is all talk and no action when it comes to long-term indebtedness," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters Wednesday. "You cannot rearrange the 30 percent of the budget that's discretionary spending forever because entitlements begin to crowd out the discretionary budget." Republicans say plans to impose sharp cuts to foreign aid and domestic programs are a nonstarter in the GOP-led Congress, underscoring the tough task for Trump in securing support.
Let's start with what we can almost all agree on: single-payer healthcare is the most effective system for achieving universal health coverage in the U.S. Single-payer would be cheaper and simpler than the ridiculous contraption we have now, a mishmash of employer, government and private plans all with different rules and standards. It's favored by a clear majority of Americans in opinion polls, at least in theory, and it's a linchpin of popular political movements like Bernie Sanders'. It would work like the closest thing we have to a single-payer system in this country, Medicare. Enrollees generally know what's covered, and they don't have to get on the phone with four insurance companies to get a single bill paid. And it would potentially cut the insurance industry entirely out of the system.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Reaction from lawmakers to President Trump's America first budget ranged from strong support to tough criticism. We have two different points of view of the president's budget proposal. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, D-Md.: Well, this budget tells me that Donald Trump is already getting very out of touch with the American people. It's the kind of budget you might expect from somebody who jets off to Mar-a-Lago every other week. And, by the way, that costs taxpayers $3 million each time, which is the amount usually in the budget for the Meals on Wheels program to help feed over two million elderly.