President Donald Trump’s recently proposed budget is dead on arrival in Congress — but Democrats running for president will likely make sure that it remains very much alive in the minds of American voters.
Writing in Bloomberg, columnist Joshua Green argues that Trump’s budget has given Democrats a gift that they can use to hammer the president on the 2020 campaign trail.
In particular, he zeroes in on the proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare, which Trump swore he’d protect in 2016.
“The math required to balance Trump’s budget and offset the revenue-draining effects of his tax cut entails spending $845 billion less on Medicare and another $25 billion less on Social Security over the next decade, things he vowed never to do while he was running for president,” Green observes.
He then points to internal GOP polling showing that voters are fearful that the massive 2017 tax cut will be used as a justification for taking away Social Security and Medicare benefits down the line, which would even further erode the president’s popularity.
“Whatever its effect on maintaining the allegiance of his base, Trump’s budget sends a crystal-clear message to voters who worried his tax cut would prompt cuts to Medicare and Social Security — that their fears were well-founded,” he concludes. “Those cuts may never pass into law. But the mere suspicion that Trump harbored these views was a political disaster for Republicans last fall. Having now committed them to print in his budget, the result isn’t likely to improve.”