Skip to main content

This Chart Shows How the Safety Net Helps Working-Class White Americans

Cuts to the safety net could be bad news for Trump’s base.

By Dwyer Gunn

Earlier today, Congress confirmed Mick Mulvaney, President’s Donald Trump’s nominee for budget director. Mulvaney, a Republican from South Carolina, has, in the past, proposed dramatic cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security. Judging by a new report from the the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive think tank, those cuts would be especially detrimental to white, working-class Americans.

The report analyzes how social safety net programs like welfare and food stamps help various demographic groups. And, as the chart below illustrates, the social safety net does a lot for white, working-class Americans (a demographic that Trump presumably cares about):

Some of this reflects basic demographics — there are more white people in this country than black or Hispanic people. But there’s more to it than that. “[Social safety net programs] reduce poverty proportionately more among working-age white adults without a college degree than among other adults lacking a college degree,” the report authors write. “Among otherwise-poor adults, these programs reduced poverty by 44 percent for white adults and by 35 percent for all other adults.”

While Trump has yet to flesh out a plan to pay for his proposed tax cuts and infrastructure spending plans, many are expecting slashes to the social safety net in the coming years.