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Daily Fractal...

Daily Fractal...

Saturday, February 17, 2018

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Reposted from O!Daddie.

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Trump Hates the Poor

Trump's budget proposal has something to hurt almost everyone, but it's a perfect storm for the poor.

By Lindsay Koshgarian , Opinion contributor | Feb. 15, 2018, at 7:00 a.m.

On Monday, President Trump released his vision for America's budget.

The president's budget is supposed to be a visionary statement of the president's priorities, unencumbered by the messy realities of negotiating with Congress. It has no binding legal power, but it sets the stage for debate in Congress.

So what's Trump's vision for the country?

Apparently, Trump's America is a place where the poor – even children – can go hungry and homeless while the rich get richer, and billions of tax dollars freely flow to Pentagon contractors.

Trump's plans for ending or cutting government programs have something to hurt almost everyone – from cuts to rural business services, to federal student aid, the Global Climate Change initiative that seeks to help countries both adapt to and prevent climate change, and workplace health and safety.

But not everyone is harmed equally by this budget. The president's budget disproportionately targets the poor.

It calls for major cuts to food stamps, Job Corps education and job-training programs for low-income youths, and housing rental assistance. And it would completely eliminate heating assistance for low-income Americans, legal aid for domestic violence victims and people facing foreclosure, and Community Development Block Grants that fund everything from affordable homeownership and homeless services to infrastructure and small business loans in impoverished communities.

Since nearly one in five American children live in poverty, the budget cuts also target children.

Some studies have shown that nearly half of children will rely on food stamps for at least a short time before they turn 20. Even active-duty military families are sometimes forced to rely on the program.

This isn't popular.

In a January poll by the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans agreed they want poverty to be a top priority for the president and Congress. In a 2017 Pew Research poll, nearly 2 out of 3 Republicans and 19 out of 20 Democrats did not support cuts to assistance to the needy. It turns out most of us, regardless of our political leanings, feel good about helping the less fortunate.

The budget also goes back on some Trump's core campaign promises: It proposes a series of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which Trump once made a big point of saying he was the only Republican committed to protecting.

The worst cuts are to Medicaid. The proposal would severely limit Medicaid spending, ultimately restricting how much health care the program could provide. It also makes targeted cuts to Medicare and to the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

These cuts have absolutely nothing to do with concern over deficits, which will explode thanks to increased Pentagon spending and the just-passed $1.5 trillion tax plan.

The one government function the president wants to fully fund is the Pentagon.


Under the president's budget, the Pentagon will be flush with money, reaching an astounding budget of $726 billion in today's dollars in 2023. Half of the current Pentagon budget goes to private contractors like Lockheed Martin, which soaked up $43 billion in federal tax dollars in 2016 and paid its CEO $19 million.

Meanwhile, the proposal does away with an effort to allow military leaders to close unneeded military bases, a move that could save $2 billion per year. That's roughly the same amount that the administration wants to cut from the Environmental Protection Agency, which would face a $2.8 billion, or 33 percent, cut.

Trump's choices for this budget fly in the face of decency, compassion and even his own campaign promises. Combined with the inequality-boosting effects of the recent tax plan, this budget is a perfect storm for lower- and middle-income Americans.

Though symbolic, this budget should remove any doubt that Trump was ever a populist. And worse, it will give Congress cover for picking up on some of the budget's more dystopian policy ideas.

Budgets show our values as a nation. Are we a nation that believes in human dignity and basic necessities like food, shelter, and medicine for all people? The answer in Trump's budget is a resounding "who cares."

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Tod Parker