Resurrecting 'Gilded Age,' Trump Budget Sacrifices All for Military and Ultra-Rich
"President Trump's new budget should lay to rest any belief that he's looking out for the millions of people the economy has left behind."
President Donald Trump officially unveiled his budget on Tuesday and made clear that the candidate who rose to power with a promise to protect the downtrodden and working class had swapped that rhetoric for "hardline rightwing economics" that prioritizes military might and insulating the one-percent at the expense of all else.
Trump's "rigged budget," as critics are calling it, sacrifices public health, environmental protection, reproductive rights, international aid, social safety nets, farm subsidies, the arts, student aid, and public education all in the interest in expanding the Defense budget and building the much-maligned southern border wall.
The document, titled "A New Foundation for American Greatness" contrasts sharply with the People's Budget released by the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) earlier this month, which offered a robust plan to boost GDP, increase economic and employment growth, and create new jobs, all while supporting programs and agencies that protect working people and the environment.
"President Trump's new budget should lay to rest any belief that he's looking out for the millions of people the economy has left behind," declared Robert Greenstein, president of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. "This disturbing budget would turn the United States into a coarser nation, making life harder for most of those struggling to get by but more luxurious for those at the very top."
"Most Americans do not seek a new Gilded Age," Greenstein continued. "And the budget is sharply at odds with what the president told voters he would do during his campaign. With this budget, the president betrays many voters who placed their trust in him. In fact, this stands as the most radical, Robin-Hood-in-reverse budget that any modern president has ever proposed."
As The Hill reported Tuesday, Trump's plan lays out a 10-year proposal for balancing the budget by "dramatically shift[ing] spending to the Pentagon from domestic programs" until the U.S. military actually consumes more than two-thirds of all domestic spending:
In 2018, it would shift $54 billion from nondefense discretionary spending to defense by enacting major cuts to the State Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture and other agencies.
It would eliminate or phase out funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In subsequent years, that shift between defense and nondefense discretionary spending would grow to the point where defense spending would make up two-thirds of discretionary domestic spending, a huge shift from the 50-50 split of today.
By 2027, the Pentagon would continue to benefit from increased annual spending, while nondefense discretionary spending would be $260 billion less than what would be spent without Trump's budget.
In total, the blueprint calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to domestic spending. Ultimately, Politico reports, "[d]omestic discretionary spending would be capped at $429 billion per year, below 2004 levels, while military spending soars to $722 billion."
Specifically, the EPA's budget will be slashed by a full 31.4 percent while 29.1 percent is cut from State Department and other international programs. It also takes a sledgehammer to Planned Parenthood by cutting funding for the healthcare provider from all federal health programs, which according to the Huffington Post is the "first time" a president has enacted such a complete freeze-out of the essential women's healthcare organization.
Going against a key campaign promise, Trump cuts Medicaid funding in half, while gutting other essential anti-poverty programs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be reduced by $193 billion, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) by $21 billion, and an additional $40 billion would be sheared from the earned income tax credit and child tax credit as people without Social Security numbers would be barred from receiving them.
At a briefing Monday evening, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said the savings would come from tightening eligibility and additional work requirements. "We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or number of people on those programs," Mulvaney said.
As for who benefits, CNNMoney's Heather Long reports:
All the top tax rates on businesses and individuals go down. He also eliminates the Obamacare surcharge on wealthy investors. Trump is giving rich investors (who earn over $200,000 a year) a tax break while half of America has nothing invested in the stock market, mostly because they don't have extra money to invest.
Arguably the biggest gift to the rich is eliminating the estate tax. Right now, it only applies to estates worth over $5.5 million, but Trump wants to get rid of it entirely.
While not surprised, progressives on Tuesday were outraged over Trump's budget blueprint, dubbing the plan a "disgrace."
It’s a disgrace that Trump would give billions in tax cuts to the 1% and make huge cuts to programs for the elderly, children, sick & poor.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 23, 2017
At a time when the very rich are getting richer and the middle class shrinks, this is a budget for the billionaires, Wall Street and CEOs.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 23, 2017
Food stamps cut by $192 billion
Medicaid cut by $800 billion
Welfare cut by $21 billion
The Trump budget is an egregious attack on poor ppl
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) May 23, 2017
The budget’s #TrumpCuts at EPA will negatively impact:
-the AIR we breathe
-the WATER we drink
-the CLIMATE we leave our kids
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) May 22, 2017
"This budget does nothing to build a foundation for American greatness," declared Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU International.
"For decades, working families have struggled to pay their bills, afford healthcare for their families and save for retirement in the face of a political and economic system that is increasingly rigged against them by self-interested politicians who advocate for the interests of greedy corporations," Henry continued. "The budget released by the Trump administration would set working families back even further to pay for tax cuts for greedy corporations and a deportation force that would only drive immigrants trying to build better lives for their families even further underground."
"These extreme proposals do nothing to help working men and women," she added. "In fact, they would actively hurt the vast majority of working people by making it harder to afford healthcare and by making our communities less safe and our neighbors more fearful."
Though reporting indicates the Trump's blueprint is essentially dead on arrival in Congress, critics are urging voters to call their elected representatives and demand they reject the budget.
Trump’s #riggedbudget decimates programs for children to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. Reject by calling Congress: 202-224-3121
— SEIU (@SEIU) May 23, 2017
This Trump budget hurts families. If your Representative or Senator isn't a firm no, start calling tomorrow morning. https://t.co/fklbpaJljD
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) May 23, 2017