Trump's 2018 Budget and Infrastructure Proposal - What it Funds and What it Cuts

By Bill Phan

As the presidential cabinet sits patiently in the White House, they await Trump’s budget proposal. The last time Trump held a meeting for a new law, he swore on record and practically initiated a 2-day government shutdown.

Trump’s new budget recommendation for 2018 will cut funding for the State Department by 25%. Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, states that the budget is concerned with “prioritizing the efficient use of taxpayer resources.” Funding will go down from $53.1 billion to $39.3 billion, according to a report from Vox. This will, in turn, free up the budget for increased military spending, which will amount to about 44 trillion dollars in spending for 2019, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Major cuts were made in the social safety net programs including Medicare (health insurance for people 65 and older), Medicaid (which is a state-level program providing health coverage for low-income people), and food stamps. Over ten years, these cuts will add up to around $3 trillion. But even with these major cuts to very large and impactful programs, Trump’s recommended budget will be adding at least $7 trillion in debt. The Trump administration predicts a deficit of $450 billion in 2027.

The infrastructure plan unveiled a week ago promises to rebuild the nation’s bridges, roads, highways, airports and seaports, according to a report by NPR. Heightened taxes on state and local levels, tolls, and water fees are some of the consequences outlined by the plan’s critics.

The plan aims to address the growing need for the nation’s infrastructure to be repaired. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated America’s transportation system a D+, according to their Infrastructure Report Card.

Yet some critics say that the plan is moving in the wrong direction. Rather than repair America’s crumbling roads, the plan simply creates “bad incentives to prioritize the new over the necessary” according to Vox’s senior correspondent and co-founder, Matthew Yglesias. Critics also say that the plan lacks federal funding, and is relying on the state  to fund for these costly repairs.

The plan is estimated to be around  $1.5 trillion in funding, yet only proposes $200 billion in federal funding. Not only is the money going to be hard to get from the bipartisan opposition in Congress, it will rely on another $1.3 trillion  of state and private funding, something most critics say is unrealistic, according to a business article published by Slate.

Will this plan come to fruition with everything it proposed? Analyzers of the bill say that it likely won’t. The many obstacles it faces in the narrow-majority Senate and the House will force it to adapt to be more favorable to environmentalists and their Democratic partners in Congress. Without the $1.3 trillion needed from the state, private individuals and corporations, the plan face major hurdles in the Senate and House.