In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump defended his plan to raise military spending, saying that the $54 billion increase would come in part from a “revved-up economy.”
“I mean you look at the kind of numbers we’re doing, we were probably GDP of a little more than 1%, and if I can get that up to 3 or maybe more, we have a whole different ball game.”
Trump also added that he would not touch Social Security in budget cuts.
As Business Inside’s Linette Lopez recently pointed out, it’s difficult to pay for increased defense spending by targeting only domestic agencies outside major entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.
On Monday, President Trump put both political parties on notice that he intends to cut spending on many of the federal government’s most politically sensitive programs, relating to education, the environment, science and poverty — to protect the economic security of retirees and to shift billions more to the armed forces.
White House officials unveiled the proposal to increase military spending by $54 billion and cut non-military programs by the same amount as they prepared the president’s plans for the 2018 federal budget. Aides to the president said final decisions about Medicare and Social Security would not be made until later in the year, when he announces his full budget. But Sean Spicer, his spokesman, cited Mr. Trump’s campaign commitments about protecting those programs and vowed that “he’s going to keep his word to the American people.”
Still, the President appears determined to take sides in a generational struggle between older, sicker Americans who depend on the entitlement programs, and their younger, poorer counterparts whose livelihoods are shaped by the domestic programs likely to see steep cuts.
“I don’t know how you take $54 billion out without wholesale taking out entire departments,” said Bill Hoagland, a long-time Republican budget aide in the Senate and now a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “You need to control it in the area of the entitlement programs, which he’s taken off the table. It is a proposal, I dare say, that will be dead on arrival even with a Republican Congress.”
While speaking to governors at the White House, Trump said his spending demands would be at the core of the speech he gives Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress. “This budget follows through on my promise to keep Americans safe,” he said, calling it a “public safety and national security” budget that will send a “message to the world in these dangerous times of American strength, security and resolve.”