For better or worse, the Trump budget cuts that liberals scream about are not really cuts.
We’ve been hearing about the harsh Trump budget cuts. Those of us who are old enough to remember the media “resistance” to Ronald Reagan should realize the deception being perpetrated in such reports (actually, they were complaints, not reports). Reagan was accused of cutting the budget when he increased the budget year after year. Now, the media is giving Donald Trump the Reagan treatment. Reason magazine reports, “Trump’s Medicaid ‘Cuts’ Actually Increase Federal Spending.”
If you look at the actual White House budget proposal, you’ll note that it includes tables for “baseline” spending and “proposed” spending. Baseline spending is spending that would occur if nothing changes—if Congress doesn’t order any new aircraft carriers, and America doesn’t start any new wars. If entitlement eligibility rules remain the same, and expected benefits for each recipient neither shrink nor grow. Things like that. Make some minor adjustments for inflation and population growth and, barring some unforeseen windfall or cataclysm, you can project how much a program will cost in future years.
The baseline spending curve for Medicaid points upward. In 2017, the program is expected to cost roughly $378 billion. A decade from now, the baseline spending for Medicaid rises to $688 billion—an 82 percent increase in nominal dollars.
Trump’s proposed spending for Medicaid points upward, too—just not as sharply.