Newly revised CBPP reports show that two main Republican arguments for deep cuts to programs for low-income Americans — that program growth across the federal budget is driving the nation’s fiscal problems and that programs for people of low or modest incomes are mushrooming in cost — don’t survive scrutiny.
President Trump and House Republicans have both proposed 2019 budgets that would deeply cut key domestic investments, including programs that help millions of families pay the rent, put food on the table, and get health care. Those budgets, by the way, came in the aftermath of December’s tax law, whose tax cuts were disproportionately tilted to the wealthy. Programs cuts that disproportionately target programs on which low-income families rely have been a consistent feature of Republican budgets in recent years.
But consider the findings of our revised reports:
To be sure, the nation faces long-term fiscal challenges, as we’ve documented. Federal spending and revenues will need to rise as a share of the economy due to an aging population and rising health and interest costs. Unfortunately, the 2017 tax law moved in precisely the wrong direction, weakening revenues and directing its benefits disproportionately toward those who least need them. Rather than doubling down on an agenda that combines large tax cuts with damaging program cuts, policymakers should put the budget on a more sustainable path that protects key domestic investments and raises sufficient revenue to keep pace with the nation’s needs.