August 15, 2022

Trump just released his 2019 budget, and it completely betrays his supporters

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President Trump’s mean-spirited, tight-fisted, pro-military budget which makes immigration security a priority but his own supporters an after-thought, was made public today, but it may be dead on arrival. 


“It is unlikely to gain traction on Capitol Hill,” predicts Bloomberg News. “Lawmakers routinedly ignore the spending requests required annually from the executive branch. And Congress passed its own spending bill on Friday, including a two-year budget deal, which the president signed into law.”

What this budget does do is lay out the Trump administration’s priorities and show how many lies the president has told to get elected and to pacify his base to get this far.

For instance, despite Trump’s repeated promises that he would not cut Medicare or Social Security, this budget begins the process of chopping them down. While Social Security is not specifically targeted – yet – Trump is calling for cuts in the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled of $237 billion, as part of his all-out attack on “entitlements.”

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That refers to programs passed over the years that provide services to everyone from the needy to the elderly. Besides Medicare, entitlement programs targeted by conservatives that face big cuts include Medicaid, welfare, and the food stamp program now called SNAP.

Programs that enrich the American experience, add to our education, artistic and cultural life, are either cut severely in this budget or no longer funded at all. The long list of programs on Trump’s trash list includes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, the National Wildlife Refuge Program, and Low Income Home Energy Assistance. 

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At the same time, Trump is not only giving the military billions more than it ever asked for but is spending heavily on his border security operations, including his wall along the Mexican border.

Trump wants to spend $782 million to hire 2,750 more border and immigration officers, and $2.7 billion to detain anyone found to have entered the U.S. illegally. 

His plan asks for $18 billion over the next two fiscal years to start building his border wall, but makes no accommodation for the DACA “dreamers,” those young people brought to America as children who now face deportation.

While the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs would see big increases, the funding will be slashed for the Environment, State, Labor, Housing and Urban Development.

Trump is trumpeting as his big priority addressing the huge problems of America’s crumbling infrastructure – roads, bridges, public buildings and more – with a plan released simultaneously today to allocated $200 billion for a public-private partnership that would use funds from local and state governments and private investors to leverage more than $1.5 trillion in improvements.

Like so much of what Trump is proposing, this appears to be dead on arrival. State and local governments don’t have the money and have no interest in raising taxes, while plans for private investment would mean lots of toll roads and projects that would profit investors while ignoring the many public needs like dealing with the potential for floods, the aging electric grid and a huge number of projects in rural areas. 

The Republican party’s long history as the party that fights against ballooning the federal budget deficit is exploded in President Trump’s cynical, pro-military, anti-social program $4 trillion budget proposal released today. 

The issue of how all the big increases in defense, immigration security, and the opioid crisis will be paid for – beyond cutting social and safety net programs to the bone – is not really addressed in this budget.

It is based on wildly optimistic economic growth projection that would require the economy to increase at rates be beyond anything that has happened in the past and continues to grow and grow and grow.

This budget says the U.S. economy will grow over the next decade by three percent a year, including a rise of 3.2 percent in 2019 and 2020. That plan to work would require inflation to stay low at a time it is increasing, and interest rates on the U.S. Treasury bills to stay low just as the fed is increasing interest rates – which means increases in the cost of financing the governments $20 trillion current debt and Trump’s plans to increase that.

In the wake of the give to the rich tax cuts, which will pump up the deficit by over $1 trillion in coming years, the new Trump budget will add another trillion in the next two years to the national debt, and doesn’t even pretend any longer that the budget can be balanced in the coming decade as Republicans have done over past years – even as Trump’s budget director Mick Mulveny claims it will cut the deficit by $3 billion without providing any evidence to back up his claims. 

Trump’s original plan was to cut domestic agencies and entitlements even more, but only days ago the president signed an agreement to keep the government going for two more years that forced a last-minute rewrite of this budget plan.

While the 2019 budget was originally going to slash foreign aid, the funds for the entitlement, home heating assistance and other non-military items, even more, the last minute deal passed last week changed all that.

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There is a lot of skepticism that Trump can get much of his plan through Congress in any case. Last year he also proposed draconian cuts in non-defense spending but in the end, had to back off over resistance from Democrats and many Republicans.

Heading into the mid-term elections later this year, it is unclear how much even a Republican-controlled Congress can stomach before they face already angry voters.

“A lot of presidents’ budgets are ignored. But I would expect this one to be completely irrelevant and totally ignored,” Jason Furman, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, told the Associated Press. “In fact, Congress passed a law week that basically undid the budget before it was even submitted.”

Trump’s budget reflects his authoritarian attitude that the job of government is to use police and military power to force citizens to do what they are told while leaving those most in need of assistance to fend for themselves.

This paints a picture of an ugly, nasty, heartless America that boosts the rich and dumps on the poor, that makes life better for the elite few but tramples on the rights of the vast majority of people who have to struggle for a decent existence every day.

This is not the budget Trump promised on the campaign trail, but it is the budget his rich powerful backers, Tea Party and alt-right friends want, and it is further evidence that Trump is not only the worst president for the American people in generations but also one of the most narrow-minded and mean.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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