Quantcast
Connect with us

Donald Trump’s new budget proposal is a map to what divides America

Published

on

Thanks for your support!
This article was paid for by reader donations to Raw Story Investigates.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

Terry H. Schwadron
Terry H. Schwadron

Sometimes government documents are hard to read, filled as they are with legalese and veined with political deals. Sometimes, of course, they are easy, as in Donald Trump’s proposed 2021 budget proposal to Congress.

It is a plain political document that outlines the president’s reelection campaign points and that runs afoul of his own State of the Union address suggestions a week ago. As such, Democrats fell over themselves to declare it dead on arrival.

ADVERTISEMENT

Among other things, the $4.8 trillion plan includes budget cuts that break with a two-year deal that Trump made earlier this year with leaders of both congressional parties. But its aim at spending for Medicare and Medicaid runs counter to last week’s promises, and the emphasis on cutting entitlement spending seems vintage Republican orthodoxy.

In case you might be wondering, there is no health plan or climate change program in it, there is less spending on a whole range of things that might seem familiar like anti-poverty programs and the arts,  and a whole lot more on items like rebuilding nuclear weapons and anti-immigrant border policing.

Among other things, the budget proposal aimed to cut foreign aid by more than 20%, further isolating the United States in its more usual international efforts like humanitarian aid. Ukrainian military aid was preserved without mention of any new investigations being requested. The proposal also is for a 37% cut for the Commerce Department and a 26% cut for the EPA, as well as less money for the National Health Institute and the Centers for Disease Control – outside of the infectious disease unit, which perhaps would have looked weird even to Trump as we see coronavirus growing into a pandemic.

There will be attention on using cuts in Medicaid to pay off the growing, and increasingly giant U.S. debt – a process that would take more than 15 years even under rosy circumstances to pay. But Trump wants unpaid tax cuts extended for at least another 10 years.

Indeed, economists were focused on the basic tenet of the entire budget proposal – which promises economic growth of at least 3% per year and possibly much more than that. The proposal is overly optimistic, they say, showing that even this last year, the first full year after the federal cuts meant to goose the economy reflected growth at about 2.3%.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, presidential budgets are routinely seen by Congress as a starting point only. But both parties in the Congress had worked out plans that conveniently would postpone this particular brand of spending priorities discord until after elections.

But this is better seen as a political document than a governing one. It made me wonder how much work the administration even put into it. You can see Trump in a debate with, say, Bernie Sanders, debating federal spending. This would be the document with highlighted points on the stage.

Pretty much every line would be a dispute.  Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez called Trump’s proposal “morally bankrupt,” and remarks from other Democrats went downhill from there.

ADVERTISEMENT

If the contents weren’t so critical to people’s lives, the whole budget discussion would be a bit best left to Saturday Night Live or Stephen Colbert. But these issues are that critical, and we need to recognize that we have a White House that wants to make up for unpaid tax cuts and higher military and border spending by cutting food stamp aid, by dropping eligibility for Social Security and Medicaid disability payments, by eliminating families eligible for housing subsidies.

The budget proposal includes $590 billion in non-defense spending and $740 billion in defense spending. The total anticipates about $3.5 trillion in spending on Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements, eliminating about $700 billion for Medicaid alone – achievable, Trump said, through elimination of fraud. The budget proposal carries a trillion-dollar debt for the year alone.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last August’s deal with congressional leaders raised spending for both defense and domestic spending. They are unlikely to endorse a plan that blows up what they already thought settled.

So, we’re best off reading this proposal as a plain-letter plan that shows where the president’s priorities are.

On the one side, we are entertaining which Democratic plan for expansion of health and aid for college student debts fit best with our vision. Democrats want to expand spending on science and climate change, add environmental protections and move away from fossil-fuel energy sources.

ADVERTISEMENT

On the other, we have Trump, who wants to get savings from cuts to children’s health, disability payments, fewer environmental protections, less money for public schools. He wants more money to send a manned mission to Mars and to remake and modernize nuclear weapons. And a wall, another $2 billion worth, down from last year’s $8-billion request.

Democrats should stop squabbling among themselves and just take a communal look at this budget proposal.

It is a map to what divides America.

This article was paid for by Raw Story subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump tells a reporter to take off coronavirus mask and stop being ‘politically correct’

Published

on

At Tuesday's White House coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump got into an argument with Reuters correspondent Jeff Mason, when he commanded him to take off his protective face mask.

Mason refused to do so, at which point Trump mocked him, saying "You want to be politically correct."

Trump also repeated a line previously made by his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asking why former Vice President Joe Biden wore a mask when he was in public but not standing close to anyone, when he wasn't wearing a mask at home with his wife right next to him.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

DOJ dropping investigation into GOP senator’s stock trades ignites outrage: ‘Quid pro quo, baby’

Published

on

On Tuesday, the Justice Department ended its investigation into three senators accused of insider trading, including Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), all of whom sold stocks around the time they were receiving classified hearings on the coronavirus pandemic. Their investigation against Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), however, continues.

There are some differences between the Burr case and the others, including that Burr admits to having ordered the trades himself whereas Loeffler says a financial adviser made the trades without her knowledge.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Shock after Trump mused about taking insulin at White House event: ‘What does he have to lose?’

Published

on

During a press conference today, President Trump rattled off a statement that left quiet a few people once again scratching their heads.

"I don't use insulin. Should I be? Huh?" Trump said. "I never thought about it. But I know a lot of people are very badly affected, right? Unbelievable."

https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1265381045978968064

As expected, many of Trump's critics on Twitter wondered what he was talking about.

I support free will. Let him take as many drugs as he wants. I mean, what does he have to lose?

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image