WHAT HAPPENS IF WE CUT FEDERAL SPENDING?
By Chris Hotchkin
“Cut the budget!” To some Americans that sounds like a great idea, that our federal government should spend less. But what does this really mean for the lives of many Americans from all walks of life?
The GOP has passed an appropriations bill for 2024 that would take federal discretionary spending back to 2022 levels. Conveniently for them, the Republicans do not give details about how the spending cuts would be implemented, probably because if they did tell, the American people would see the harmful consequences of these spending cuts.
The GOP will not cut defense spending, so everything else in discretionary spending will have to take a deep cut, likely about 22% since the Republicans pledge that they will not cut veterans medical benefits. If they did cut medical care for vets, (and since we have no details of the GOP plan this is a possibility), the cuts to the VA would cost 81,000 jobs in the veterans’ health administration.
The GOP spending cuts would slash funding for programs that serve low-income children and children with disabilities. 200,000 children would lose access to Head Start programs. 180,000 children would lose access to day care. 1.7 million women, children, and infants would lose nutritional assistance, which would cause a severe increase in child poverty and hunger.
More than a million seniors would lose access to Meals on Wheels, for many their only hot meal of the day. 630,000 Americans would lose housing vouchers, including 190,000 seniors and veterans.
There would be fewer railway safety inspections, cuts to Army Corps of Engineers projects, and a 22% cut to Homeland Security meaning less border management. Work towards climate change remedies would be cut. There would be less food safety inspections, air traffic control would be cut, the administration of Social Security and Medicare would be cut with some offices closed. Funding for the Internal Revenue Service would be cut, actually adding to the deficit because less taxes would be collected.
Meanwhile, under the GOP plan, Trump’s extreme tax cuts for the wealthy will remain in place. President Biden’s budget proposal maintains all the above-mentioned programs that benefit the American people, while trimming three trillion dollars from the deficit by making sure that the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
The GOP-led House of Representatives is holding the necessary increase to the debt ceiling hostage to these cuts in spending. This is definitely not good policy, and certainly not good for the American people.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: www.cbpp.org