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Analysis of Trump Budget: "Fake Math," Deep Cuts to Food Stamps

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Despite White House claims to the contrary, new analysis finds the budget for federal safety-net programs at a historic low. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
Despite White House claims to the contrary, new analysis finds the budget for federal safety-net programs at a historic low. (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
 By Dan HeymanContact
May 30, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. – Even a 25-percent cut to SNAP - enough to leave thousands more in Virginia hungry - can't make the White House budget math add up, according to a new analysis.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says President Donald Trump's first budget would slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps) by nearly $200 billion.

For Virginia, that would mean a cut of $300-million a year to food aid for families.

Jacob Leibenluft, senior advisor of the Center calls the budget "Robin Hood in reverse" - it steals from the poor to give to the rich.

"Historically deep cuts in nutrition programs and programs for people with disabilities; and at the same time, historically large tax cuts for the wealthiest and large corporations," he says.

White House budget officials argue the cuts are needed to reduce the budget deficit by spurring economic growth. But Leibenluft says the Trump Administration is overstating what the plan would do and using "fake math." And Congress will have the final word on most budget items.

He says the theory is "iffy" that tax cuts will pay for themselves through more revenue from faster growth. Then, Leibenluft says, the budget even counts that added revenue twice - once to offset the tax cuts.

"But then, use that growth a second time around to further reduce the deficit," he adds. "So, 'double count' growth that many people would say wouldn't even be created by the tax plan in the first place."

He describes it as a budget illusion - a magic trick to hide tax cuts for the wealthy.

"Even with incredibly deep cuts to programs that support health and nutrition, they can't get even close to a balanced budget, and this really hides that basic fact," he explains.

He points out the SNAP cuts would land hard on working families in areas that supported Trump.

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