Features

Trump’s budget is a wily political move

The US president gears up for negotiations with budgets that have no hope of passing. Emily Hohler reports.

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Donald Trump's latest budget proposal, which demands billions for a border wall at the expense of social safety nets and environmental protections, was dismissed on Monday as "dead on arrival", says David Smith in The Guardian. His $4.7trn budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which starts in October, includes cuts to domestic programmes of 5% or $2.7trn over ten years in order supposedly to curb America's national debt, which stands at a record $22trn. But budgets released by the White House have "little chance of passing". They are more "starting points for negotiation with Congress".

Thankfully, this budget is going "nowhere anytime soon", says Ben Ritz in Forbes. Despite comically optimistic growth forecasts, it wouldstill produce a bigger national debt than the policies in President Barack Obama's finalbudget proposal. But the worst aspect is the gutting of investments that provide the foundations for long-term prosperity, such as for infrastructure, education and scientific research, including "aggressive cuts" to anything related to climate change. Meanwhile, Trump's 2017 tax cuts would be made permanent, and defence spending increased. This budget is a recipe for greater poverty, inequality and higher national debt.

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The "red ink" is a "minor problem" for Trump, saysIrwin Stelzer in The Sunday Times. Deficits in trillions are hard for "ordinary people to imagine". The point of this budget is to reassure Trump's core that he is fighting to redeem campaign promises while widening "fractures" within the Democrats. Democrat moderates fear that a radical and expensive agenda, promoted by the socialist wing of their party, will make voters return to Trump. This budget might be "DOA" in Congress, but it is a "very-much-alive campaign ploy to which Democrats will be hard-pressed to respond without tearing their party apart".

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