As we discussed in our feature article on Trump’s tax reform proposal, President Trump’s plan is to consolidate the existing tax bracket structure by reducing the number of brackets from seven down to three. This consolidation will positively impact very high earning Americans and negatively impact many middle earning Americans; those at the top will receive a cut, while many in the middle will be faced with a somewhat higher tax burden than they would have previously under the seven bracket structure.
As it turns out, the tax reform proposal is just one part of a larger plan to alter the entire existing financial landscape of our country. Trump’s aim is to tackle our massive national debt and restore our overall financial health; toward this end, he has developed a comprehensive budget plan which has proved highly controversial and is currently facing significant difficulties in the Congress. The question remains whether the budget plan can successfully pass through without being transformed into something unrecognizable in comparison to its original form.
Let’s look at some of the major provisions of the plan and then go over some of the controversy surrounding it.
Major Cuts to Benefit Program Spending
Certainly the most controversial aspect of Trump’s budget proposal is its management of funds dedicated to benefit programs. The new plan aims to slash approximately $200 billion of benefit program spending from the federal budget immediately; the plan also aims to slash funding for Medicare, Medicaid and the Obama health law. Overall, Trump’s plan will cut approximately $5.4 billion from the budget over the course of the coming decade. By 2027, the goal is to turn our current national annual deficit into a small surplus.
Cuts Provoke Philosophical Debate
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s budget plan has provoked strong opposition from Democrats. Progressive legislators haven’t been shy to claim that the budget plan’s large cuts are politically unworkable as well as socially undesirable given the effects they will have on broad segments of the population. Aside from political objections, the budget plan has also raised deeper philosophical issues among politicians both in Washington, D.C. and throughout the entire country. The plan brings up complex questions about the proper role of government in civic life: what responsibility does the federal government have to effectively “gift” resources to citizens? And, assuming the federal government does have such a responsibility, how much is each citizen entitled to receive?
We will have to watch and see whether Trump’s plan will be enacted without significant modifications. What is perhaps most fascinating, however, is the way that Trump’s budget is calling upon pundits and political leaders to reevaluate some of the most foundational questions of our political life. It’s probably safe to say that the Trump administration will leave a very lasting imprint on our civic life as it will compel us to look in the mirror and carefully examine the features which make us who we are.
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