Mulvaney defends Trump budget's social safety net cuts

Jon Howard
May 27, 2017

Trump, before he became a presidential candidate, ridiculed lawmakers for raising the debt ceiling, and Mulvaney - when he was a member of Congress - has opposed efforts to increase the debt ceiling, saying then that Congress should do more to restrain government spending.

The facts are that the proposed budget cuts Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by $616 billion, food stamp program by $191 billion, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program by $22 billion and Social Security disability benefits by almost $70 billion -- all over the next decade. ‎This is a budget that will "put taxpayers first".

Another problem with the Trump budget is that it's based on the assumption that the economy will achieve sustained growth at a rate of 3 percent. The Bible says you can't build a house on a sandy foundation. "It's not only a myth, it's frankly a lie".

Office of Budget Management Director Mick Mulvaney appeared before the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, where he was peppered with questions about what the president's pitch involves and why it's needed. But then the $2 trillion is also counted as economic growth for the goal of reducing the deficit.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture figures, bedrock Republican states that Trump won have long food-stamp rolls: 3.8 million people in Texas, 682,077 in Vice President Mike Pence's home state of in, 815,000 in Alabama and 1.6 million in Georgia, for example.

Note that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has similarly argued that subsidized housing should not provide "a comfortable setting that would make somebody want to say: 'I'll just stay here. It assumes that the stars perfectly align with regard to economic drivers". Representative Mark Meadows, who heads the House of Representatives' hard-right Freedom Caucus, called it "a great step forward" for conservatives, adding: "It's all about economic growth". To drive 3 percent growth, Sanford said, capital formation would have to rise to levels not seen in the United States since the mid-1970s, while baby-boomer retirements stand to exert a huge drag on savings.

As a candidate and as president Trump has frequently talked about making health care more affordable for regular folks, including by lowering premiums and deductibles.

"Why? Because that's what the president said when he was campaigning, that he would not change those things", he said. "We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs and the amount spent on those programs".

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Neighbors recalled him as a tall, thin young man who often wore traditional Islamic dress and did not talk much. Before his arrest, Abedi's father said he had last spoken to his son five days ago and he sounded "normal".

Mulvaney defended that gimmick on Tuesday, saying it was done "on goal".

There is very little fraud in these assistance programs, and the Trump people know it.

Trump's plan aims for 3 percent economic growth, much faster than the economy has grown recently.

Mulvaney added: "By the way, if you don't, the budget will never balance".

The budget not only slashes funding for food stamps by $191 billion over the next decade - that is, by more than a quarter - but also proposes charging retailers a new fee if they want to accept food stamps from customers. So we refuse to accept that that's the new normal in this country.

Trump administration critics were not as forgiving.

In an interview after Wednesday's hearing, Sanford said that he simply could not accept blind faith as a basis for the federal budget and suggested that he would not be inclined to support any budget that adopts a similarly rosy view of the United States' economic future given its aging and slow-growing workforce and stagnant productivity gains.

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