Republicans Are Once Again Very, Very Concerned About Deficits

Their solution: Cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

McConnell called the deficit "disturbing."Douglas Christian/ZUMA Wire

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who last year assured voters that sweeping tax cuts would not add to the country’s growing deficit, expressed concern today…about the federal budget deficit. In a Bloomberg News interview Tuesday morning, McConnell called the deficit “disturbing,” pointing to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid as “70 percent” of the spending.  

“There’s been a bipartisan reluctance to tackle entitlement changes because of the popularity of those programs,” said McConnell. “Hopefully at one point here, we will get serious about this. We haven’t been yet.”

The comments come after a Treasury report released Monday showed that the deficit ballooned by 17 percent in fiscal year 2018, increasing from $666 billion to $779 billion. The increase comes as no surprise to economists, who projected that last year’s massive tax cuts—which disproportionately benefited corporations and the wealthy—would add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years.

In recent months, Republicans have sought to gut social programs, such as pushing stricter work requirements for food stamp and Medicaid recipients, a proposal that a recent Brookings Institution report says could jeopardize impact more than 20 million low-income Americans. In Arkansas, the first state to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients, more than 8,000 beneficiaries have been kicked off the program since June. McConnell’s home state of Kentucky also tried to enact work requirements for Medicaid recipients after receiving the green light from the Trump administration but was blocked by a federal judge.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend