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President's Budget Doesn't Meet the Fiscal Realities

Feb 12, 2018 | Budgets & Projections

For Immediate Release

President Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget on Monday. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

The country is facing a massive fiscal challenge, and the President's budget doesn't own up to these realities and fails to call for a suite of credible policies that would help change course. The budget has too many gimmicks, exaggerated savings, and rosy assumptions. Most troubling, it doesn’t make the credible hard choices necessary to help bring the debt back to more manageable levels. Fiscal leadership is needed to confront the reality that the debt is on an unsustainable path, which has been made much worse through the tax and spending policies of the past year, and this budget does not offer that leadership.

That said, the budget does include a number of thoughtful and serious policies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Medicare program – along with a number of other smart policies to reduce government spending. We encourage the Administration to pursue these ideas.

But, undermining the credibility of the overall budget, it assumes an ultimate cut in non-defense discretionary spending by 40 percent when we just hiked it by over 10 percent. And it assumes much higher economic growth than nearly all outside forecasters. The budget counts on these and other assumptions to reduce deficits to sustainable levels – and without them, debt would continue to rise rapidly and indefinitely.

Rather than wishing away our fiscal problems, we need a budget that takes seriously the deep hole policymakers have dug us into. Between last week's budget deal and December's tax bill, the country is on a borrowing spree that will lead to the return of trillion-dollar deficits by next year and $2 trillion deficits within a decade or so. We've taken fiscal recklessness to a new level, and it's time we begin our recovery.

By focusing on a variety of spending reforms, the President's budget includes some important elements of that fiscal recovery. But much more needs to be done – including a rescue plan to make Social Security solvent, further slowing health care cost growth, and either improving the recent tax bill so that it reduces rather than adds to the long-term debt or a new revenue source.

We need Presidential leadership now more than ever to stem the growth of our historic national debt – not a plan that pretends everything is fine but leaves our nation's youth footing the bill.


For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at