The proposed budget "once again calls for steep cuts to federal spending that supports rural communities," Bryce Oates reports for The Daily Yonder. That includes an 8 percent cut in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's discretionary budget—a $2 billion cut that mostly targets nutrition and food security programs, though farming, conservation and rural economic development programs are also cut.
Specifically, Trump proposes cutting funding for the Economic Research Service by 35%, from this year's $84 million to $62 million. The Rural Business and Cooperative Programs would lose 97% of funding, from $94 million to $3 million. The budget would also eliminate the USDA Single Family Housing Direct Loans program, funded this year at $90 million, and would provide the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network only $2 million for local farm financial stress counseling—$8 million less than the 2018 Farm Bill's minimum, Oates reports.
"The budget proposes $44 million in distance learning and telemedicine grants, with 20% dedicated to projects that 'combat the opioid crisis and keep rural communities safe,''' Oates reports. "It provides $614 million in funding for water and wastewater grants and loans, $5.5 billion in electric loans, and $690 million in telecommunications loans, $2.5 billion for community facility direct loans and $500 million for guaranteed loans. The budget also provides $1.5 billion for business and industry guaranteed loans, a $500 million increase over current levels paid for by increased lending fees."
The budget isn't clear where much of the proposed Social Security savings over the next decade will come from. Over the next 10 years, $47 billion in savings is meant to come from an Office of Management and Budget proposal to "test new approaches to labor force participation," which essentially amounts to experimenting with policy until they save money, Botella reports.
However, the Congressional Budget Office projects the economy will grow 2.2% in the current fiscal year and will grow less than 2.0% per year afterward. "While Trump campaigned on a promise of eventually eliminating the country’s huge debt, each year of his plan projects significant budget deficits that actually would add to the $22 trillion debt," Mason and Cowan report.