The Senate GOP Budget Looks Good Relative to the House GOP Budget, But Not Relative to Much Else

Yesterday I wrote a quick overview of the House GOP budget proposal, which I argued would clearly be bad for our economic—and quite possibly physical—health. The Senate GOP budget proposal is a bit better, but while less it’s less austere than the House GOP budget, it is still harmful to the general welfare and the economy.

The Senate Budget Committee’s fiscal year 2016 budget resolution, proposed by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), would continue damaging austerity for yet another year. This budget, which like the House Budget resolution passed with only GOP support, proposes to eliminate the budget deficit by 2025 without raising taxes. However, to achieve this goal, the budget punishes low- and middle-income people, with cuts to public investments (education, infrastructure, research and development), Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and nutrition programs for needy children.

Furthermore, because these cuts start early, when the economy is still likely to be operating below potential due to deficient aggregate demand, the budget plan has adverse effects on economic growth and jobs in the near-term. Based on standard multipliers and relationships between GDP and employment growth, I estimate that the Senate GOP budget cuts would reduce GDP by 0.7 percent in FY2016 and decrease payrolls by almost 800,000 jobs, relative to CBO’s baseline economic and budget projections. It gets even worse in FY2017—GDP would be reduced by almost 1.9 percent, with payrolls decreasing by 2.3 million jobs.

All in all, the Senate GOP budget does slightly less damage than the House GOP budget, but that’s a low bar to clear.