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Commentary By Brian Riedl

Trump's 'Heartless' Budget Doesn't Slash the Safety Net

Economics, Economics Tax & Budget, Tax & Budget

President Trump’s “skinny budget” — which would shift $54 billion in non-defense discretionary spending over to defense — has been unfairly savaged for allegedly eviscerating the social safety net.

Headlines such as “How Trump’s Budget Cuts Could Hurt Low-Income Americans” (CNN) and “If You’re a Poor Person in America, Trump’s Budget is Not For You” (Washington Post), were accompanied by a New York Times editorial describing the budget as a sadistic attempt to “impose pain for pain’s sake.”

Such headlines may lead people to wonder just how deeply President Trump’s budget proposal would cut federal anti-poverty spending below current levels: Ten percent? Twenty percent? More?

The answer is: zero.

The federal government classifies programs by functional codes. Anti-poverty programs primarily consist of functions 604 (housing aid), 605 (food aid), 609 (cash and related aid) and the portion of function 551 (health care) that includes Medicaid, the children’s health-insurance program and ObamaCare.

This limited definition surely undercounts anti-poverty spending by excluding education....

Read the entire piece here at the New York Post


Brian M. Riedl is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here. This piece was adapted from Economics21.

This piece originally appeared in New York Post