The Republicans were preoccupied with other issues, they are now starting to focus their attention on passing through federal spending programs that will impact the finances of the poor. President Donald Trump’s refusal to overhaul Social Security and Medicare, combined with different tax cuts has the House budget writers focused on saving money through attacking safety net programs for the most vulnerable Americans.
Republicans have established that their idea of paying for tax cuts by finding additional sources of revenue will be harder than expected. The idea of a border adjustment tax looks unlikely to happen after the idea was criticized by retailers. The White House was also unsure of the idea. President Trump thought about implementing a value added tax or a carbon tax, but those were quickly shot down. There were never any serious discussions about attacking the charitable and mortgage interest deductions. There has been talk of eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes, though that is not considered a practical option by everyone.
So if the Republicans want to address the budget deficit without treating the rich to a tax cut, then that means they are thinking about slashing programs that impact the poor. They are trying to do this without having to deal with Democratic filibusters in the Senate. The proposal will be part of the House Budget Committee’s fiscal budget, and could include major cuts to programs such as welfare, food stamps, and income assistance for the disabled.
While many analysts feel that the Republicans are under serious pressure to balance the budget, they also feel that the Republicans may want to cut these programs whether it is necessary to or not. There were some signs that this could be a possibility dating back to President Trump’s outline of the budget in March. There was always the possibility of cuts to low income energy assistance programs.
Threatening these programs is interesting to Republicans who were upset when President Trump declared that Medicare and Social Security were off limits. By upsetting Democrats by cutting these programs, perhaps President Trump can regain some good will with Republicans. Many Republicans are skeptical that these cuts will actually take place, while many of them would love to see these cuts go through, they aren’t obsessed over them. Regardless, its clear that President Trump will pursue high end tax cuts no matter what the circumstances are. If that results in budget cuts that impact the poor, the Republicans are fine with the collateral damage.