Trump pushes budget that crushes his own supporters
Trump made promises during his campaign that he is quickly reversing. | AP

The populist promises of candidate Trump be damned, President Trump yesterday released details of his first budget, a plan that slams hardest the people who voted for him.

Tossing aside his vow to shake up Washington, the President put out a budget that is based on the time worn and discredited ideology of right wingers who have been hanging out in the nation’s capital ever since the mid-1960’s when they started to attack President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs.

“It’s one of the cruelest things I have seen here in many years,” Maryland’s Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said on national television this morning.

The budget, which has no chance of becoming law even with Republican control of Congress, shows, however, the direction in which conservatives and right wingers want to take the country and it serves as the basis from which they will try to strong arm other lawmakers into passing major chunks of their dream budget.

The President falsely claims that his budget will reduce the deficit by “slashing $1.7 trillion from virtually every program that helps reduce poverty and supports ordinary working Americans – Medicaid and CHIP, nutrition assistance, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, support for people with disabilities, and the Earned Income Tax Credit – on top of $54 billion in 2018 cuts to domestic programs already previewed in the ‘skinny’ budget two months ago,” according to a press release issued today by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

“Even worse,” the release reads, “The purpose of these cuts is to fund tax cuts for wealthy Americans and corporations – completely backwards priorities. Moreover, the claim to balance the budget depends on unreasonably optimistic assumptions about growth – which are even less likely to come true with sharply downsized investments in America’s future.”

Many Trump voters had only recently been able to access Medicaid funds as a result of their inclusion in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The Trump budget ends affordable health care for these Trump voters and for millions of other Americans by slashing $610 billion from Medicaid. That cut is in addition to the $200 billion cut out of Medicaid by the president’s American Healthcare Act, bringing the total cut to Medicaid to more than $800 billion. Trump is tossing into the garbage can, therefore, all his campaign promises not to touch Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. The cuts would impose particularly severe suffering on children, parents, workers, seniors and people with disabilities.

Like he did with his health care bill, the president released what is probably the cruelest budget in U.S. history without waiting for estimates from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about the true cost of his plan in actual dollars. The CBO only today is slated to release the cost information on the health care plan he rammed through the House last month.

Not content to destroy health care for Americans, the Trump budget also slashes the ability of millions to feed themselves and their families.

According to the CLASP document the Trump budget removes $191 billion over 10 years form the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is estimated to have been not just a lifeline for millions of low income people but also an important factor in keeping them out of the direst levels of poverty. The budget eliminates many other programs including cooling and heating assistance projects for the poor.

The cuts in the Trump budget pose serious threats to the security and well-being of the nation as a whole.

“They harm vital programs that strengthen our nation’s future,” the CLASP report said by preventing children and adults from getting the help they need to put them on the road to success.

In addition to making dangerous cuts in so many areas the Trump budget actually wastes money in other important ways “by seeking to criminalize communities of color, with harmful spending proposals that reverse progress on criminal justice reform,” the document notes. “The budget calls for $1.6 billion to build a needless and costly border wall as well as additional resources to hire more enforcement agents and expand immigrant detention, threatening to tear parents away form their children.”

Finally, the report says, the budget contains a “sleeper” issue that could ruin the nation’s cities and states. The cuts it enacts will destabilize cities and towns and numerous states struggling to meet today’s challenges, the report says. States are required to balance their budgets and the enormous amounts that the Trump budget takes them from them will force those states to enact their own cuts which could be worse than the federal cuts.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org. He started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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