by Max Brantley
President Trump plans to unveil on Tuesday a $4.1 trillion budget for 2018 that would cut deeply into programs for the poor, from health care and food stamps to student loans and disability payments, laying out an austere vision for reordering the nation’s priorities.But note that Social Security — the portion for disability payments — WILL be cut. Note that the prospect of balancing the budget is largely fictional.
The document, grandly titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” encapsulates much of the “America first” message that powered Mr. Trump’s campaign. It calls for an increase in military spending of 10 percent and spending more than $2.6 billion for border security — including $1.6 billion to begin work on a wall on the border with Mexico — as well as huge tax reductions and an improbable promise of 3 percent economic growth.
The wildly optimistic projections balance Mr. Trump’s budget, at least on paper, even though the proposal makes no changes to Social Security’s retirement program or Medicare, the two largest drivers of the nation’s debt.
“This is, I think, the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes,” said Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s budget director.Many of the people who will be hurt most — the working poor and college students who work while studying, to name a few — can testify that they DO pay taxes, generally a disproportionate amount compared with the wealthy. "I've got mine" is the motto of the MAGA crowd, however. And, truth is, punishing the deadbeats was a critical part of Trump's successful election message. No Democrat will gain much ground by bemoaning the punishment.