Trump’s Budget Will Cut Payments to California

President Trump’s proposed budget would likely result in billions of dollars of cuts to vital health and human services programs in California, state Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the poor said Tuesday,” reported the Los Angeles Times,

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“It’s unconscionable and un-American,” blasted Gov. Jerry Brown, who himself slashed state social spending to balance the budget.

In announcing the May Revision to his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017-18, Brown warned, “We have ongoing pressures from Washington and an economic recovery that won’t last forever.”

Actually, to use a line from another California governor, Ronald Reagan: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The cuts in California programs soon will be much larger than those in Trump’s proposal, and they will strike whether or not he’s president, or the White House occupant is Elizabeth Warren or the ghost of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Nor will it matter if Nancy Pelosi again becomes House speaker and is joined by Chuck Schumer as Senate majority leader.

The reason is simple: The Baby Boomers will continue retiring, and Social Security and Medicare payments will gobble up an increasing proportion of federal spending. That will crowd out everything else: spending for defense (especially wars), even though Trump now wants to increase defense spending $50 billion a year; and for all discretionary spending, including for health, education and welfare transfers to state governments.

According to Brown’s May Revise budget proposal, general fund spending would be $124 billion for fiscal 2017-18, which begins on July 1.

Brown’s January budget proposal included more details on federal funding. For example, turn to p. 28, Figure K-12-05. We see the $90.7 billion in revenue for K-12 education will come 61% from federal sources.


The May Revise also warns: “The state must also continue to plan for and save for tougher budget times ahead. The federal government is contemplating actions – such as defunding health care for five million Californians, eliminating the deductibility of state taxes, and zeroing out funding for organizations like Planned Parenthood – that could send the state budget into turmoil….

I got some of the following charts from an article on the libertarian website, by Gary North, Ron Paul’s first economic adviser. Title, “Guns or Granny: The Looming Political Battle of the West.” North, who has written about this issue for years, copied the charts and data from non-libertarian sites. His analysis makes sense to me. But feel free to come up with your own interpretation of the independent data.

His conclusion, “Sometime before the 20’s are over, there will be no more discretionary slice of the budgetary pie. At that point, there is going to be a guerilla war in Washington. It will be a battle over the size of the slices of pie. Political voting blocs that thought the size of their slice was guaranteed will find that it isn’t.”

Check out this chart:


The first thing to note is federal taxing is limited to 20% of GDP. In America’s entire history, it only briefly went slightly above that amount during World War II, until Hitler and Tojo were defeated. Then it went back below the 20% threshold. Americans just won’t be taxed more.

In most years since 1970, the federal government has spent more than revenues, usually around 23% to 25% of GDP. That is, spending is at least 3 to 5 percentage points above revenues. That’s how presidents and Congress have run up a massive debt that now clocks at $20 trillion. This year’s projected deficit of $603 billion, in the proposed Trump budget, sure doesn’t help. The rising debt, of course, means higher interest payments in the future – meaning less money to spend on other areas.


Note that there is no connection between the top marginal income tax rate and tax receipts. Even if President Warren boosted the top tax rate back to 90%, as it was in the 1950s, total tax receipts would not rise, but would remain under 20%.

So, there isn’t going to be any more money. And more Baby Boomers will be retiring, putting extra demands on Social Security and Medicare. That means: Something has to give.

North’s point is that old people are not going to let their Social Security and Medicare be cut before everything else is cut: defense, education, environmental programs, science, etc.

Here’s a chart I found from the UC Davis Center for Regional Change from the 2014 California election:


Notice how those ages 64-74 voted more than six times those of ages 18-24. That was not a presidential election year, but the votes affected congressional races. And it’s the Congress that passes the bills, not the president. In a democratic system, with majority ruling, if it’s Social Security and Medicare vs. aid to colleges and K-12 schools, who’s going to win that battle? Who is more likely to write a letter to Rep. Porkbarrel insisting on funding? It won’t matter whether the honorable representative is a Democrat or a Republican.

Finally, here’s a pie chart of federal spending in 2015:


Notice the two slices on the right: Social Security is 24% of the budget. And 25% goes for health care – which includes not only Medicare for retirees, but Medicaid (Medi-Cal here), the Veterans Administration, federal retiree health guarantees, etc.

Those two slices are guaranteed to increase, which means the rest of the slices will have to be cut. Even in that nutty new math they teach under Common Core in the California public schools, all of something = 100%, not 110% or 150%.

When the feds cut the gravy train, which inevitable, the California state budget, like most of us aging baby boomers, is going to find it’s going to have to go on a diet.

John Seiler wrote editorials for the Orange County Register from 1987 to 2016. He now writes freelance White Papers. His email:


  1. What will the Democrats do if they don’t have more of other people’s money to give away! (gasp)

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

  2. slash all welfare

  3. Moonbeam has no interest in the people of California. He will claim sanctuary state along with all his cronies. Normally that would be the end of California but not today. They will legalize pot and that will be their saving grace. The com-u-cratics wish to kill America and that includes many republicans.
    Social security and Medicare have been raped by those we have elected. They refuse to stop the fraud which would save both systems.

  4. Skeptical says

    So much for the Taxifornia Utopia.
    Now the Progressives get to agonize over the the financial triage of every entitlement that they just can’t live without.
    Start with the unfunded liability of state-union pensions.
    And yes, I am gloating.

  5. askeptic says

    Let them eat secession cake!

  6. jetta242 says

    Kick the Illegal Aliens and Communist Jerry Brown out of America..send them all back across the borders…

  7. dntgiveup says

    This totally delights me considering the democratic stupidity that runs amuck in this state. To bad the federal government doesn’t have a way to suppress stupidity in politicians that are at the reigns in CA. On another note, don’t be surprised Flush it down Brown will probably add an additional .30 cent a gallon tax on gasoline….he would not be able to sleep if he couldn’t fund his bullet train to nowhere. Chances are he or his cronies own real estate in the path of the proposed train and plan on making a killing on their investments.

  8. Gary Von Neida says

    The Golden State might just join the RUST BELT if The idiots in Sacremento do not give up breaking the law of the land and supporting SANCTUARY CITIES—–Not a dime for Sanctuary Cities and allow big time LAW SUITS against such cities by victims of ILLEGAL ALIEN crime.

  9. Good! I can only hope that CA legislators will wake up and see that the liberal free spending agenda has to change. Taxpayers can’t provide the money they are trying to get and spend. Sooner or later, the legislators will learn. My only hope is that it will be sooner, not later.

  10. Ralph Harder says

    Where, in the Constitution, is there a provision/requirement for the Feds to pay 61% (or any) of the Educational Budget of CA?

  11. Has this country seriously gone nutso enough to elect Elizabeth Warren president? I know California has, but the nation? I think that by naming Hillary Clinton their nominee in 2016 they filled their diaper.

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