The Republicans have proposed a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and it’s not causing widespread dancing in the streets. It’s also not what it seems, says at least one federal budget expert. Here’s the full story.
Impasse in the House
With just days until the federal government faces a shutdown, members of the House of Representatives are working all hours trying to come up with a plan.
At issue is that the Republicans and Democrats haven’t been able to agree on a budget for the new fiscal year. And without a budget, there’s no choice but to shut things down.
But while some in the middle, including the speaker of the house, are trying to reach some sort of interim agreement to keep the wheels on, others are drawing a line in the sand.
Some Trying to Reduce Spending
That’s the case for House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington, who proposed a budget for 2024 that he says would reduce spending by about $4 trillion over ten years.
That may sound good and very responsible, but not everyone is buying the viability of Arrington’s plan. And some say the proposal comes with plenty of hidden dangers.
Dangers of Proposed Budget
In an opinion piece for Common Dreams, a website dedicated to progressive issues, Sharon Parrott of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities takes aim at Arrington’s proposal.
The overarching problem that Parrott sees is one that critics have cited for decades when it comes to conservative fiscal policies.
Cuts to Assistance
According to Parrott’s take on the numbers, Arrington’s budget would cut about $1.9 trillion from the Medicaid program. It would also slice billions of dollars out of assistance programs that help people get food and other life necessities.
At the same time, Arrington’s budget would extend the 2017 tax cuts championed by Donald Trump and aimed at keeping more money in the pockets of high-earning Americans.
Additional Tax Cuts Proposed
Those cuts are set to expire, but they’d stick around under Arrington’s plan. They’d have some company, too, in the form of additional cuts for the upper tax brackets.
By Parrott’s estimation, the top 1% of earners would save about $41,000 each under Arrington’s proposal.
A Savings of $4 Trillion in a Decade
The $4 trillion that Arrington wants to save over the next decade would all be aimed at reducing the budget deficit. In fact, says the budget chair, the cuts needed to get there would achieve a balanced budget.
But Parrott takes issue with both that goal and the means laid out to get there.
A balanced budget at the federal level doesn’t mean much, says Parrott, if the average American is suffering or if the poorest Americans can’t meet their basic needs.
And she also points out that Arrington’s final tally of $4 trillion has some hopeful math involved in it. Specifically, says Parrott, about $3 trillion is based on projected economic growth.
If that fiscal expansion doesn’t come to pass, then neither will the balanced budget, says Parrott.
Part of an Ongoing Battle
In the end, it seems that Arrington’s proposed budget and Parrott’s analysis of that plan are a reflection of the ongoing battle in Washington.
And if neither side budges soon, it seems that a shutdown is all but inevitable.
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