The administration unveiled a proposed budget Tuesday that would lower projected deficits and keep the debt stable as a share of the economy over the next 10 years. But the plan has no chance of winning approval from a Republican Congress and, in any case, would not put the debt on a sustainable downward path.
“The budget leaves in place a dynamic that will be increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to maintain,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of The Concord Coalition. “As Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid grow on autopilot, funding for other programs will be squeezed and revenues will need to rise.”
Under the budget, spending would rise from 21.5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 22.8 percent in 2026, while revenues would rise from 18.9 percent of GDP next year to 20 percent in 2026. Debt held by the public would decline from 76.5 percent of GDP in 2017 to 75.3 percent in 2026.
The administration offers an array of health care proposals that it says would save $378 billion. However, that number would be about $200 billion higher were it not for new health care spending proposals.
The administration also offers reforms to the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on high-cost health insurance, which is important because of its potential to collect revenue and lower health care costs. Concord Policy Director Joshua Gordon urged opponents of the tax to “show similar seriousness by offering reform proposals that address the needs for revenue and lower cost growth.”
Breaking with tradition, congressional Republicans say they will not invite the White House budget director to testify before the congressional budget committees. Concord urges the committees to reverse this decision.
“Resolving differences to solve problems must begin with an open dialogue,” Bixby said.
President’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal 2017
Sharp Divide Over Spending, Debt Could Renew Budget Warfare (Fiscal Times)
Ryan’s Budget Strategy Collides With Conservatives’ Demands (N.Y. Times)