The White House’s Proposed Budget Cuts Prioritize War Over the American People (Video)
Since announcing proposed slashes to the federal budget last week, the White House has ignited a maelstrom of bipartisan concern due to what the New York Times calls “bone-deep cuts.” Indeed, what’s being called the “America First” budget blueprint would see huge reductions in (and in some cases, complete removal of) federal programs providing important services to not only millions of Americans, but also the planet and international allies. From huge cuts to environmental protections, education-based initiatives, housing services, and more, to maximized military spending, the “Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” is being criticized for its problematic re-allocation of funds.
Put forth by the Office of Management and Budget, the Trump administration’s proposal includes a message from Trump himself, in which he states “One of the most important ways the Federal Government sets priorities is through the Budget. Accordingly, I submit to the Congress this Budget Blueprint to reprioritize Federal spending so that it advances the safety and security of the American people.” Notably, Trump opted to use the words “safety and security” to describe the so-called priorities set forth by the budget. In fact, he minces no words about where he wants federal funding funneled. “I have instructed my Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, to craft a budget that emphasizes national security and public safety,” he says.
Keeping Americans safe at home and abroad is certainly a priority for any president, but what is reflected in Trump’s budget plan is heavy handed focus on spending more money on America’s military presence and less money on programs Americans rely on. As Rolling Stone puts it, the budget plan is an example of “unabashedly cruel conservatism,” and it will hurt those who are already struggling the most. All in all, Trump wants to eliminate 62 agencies and programs, according to USA Today. Agencies and services operated by the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health & Human Services, Housing & Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, International Development, Transportation, Treasury, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and some independent agencies and commissions will see parts of their operations vanish entirely.
Some of the more notable agencies and programs in danger include the Global Climate Change Initiative, a $1.3 billion plan to support the Paris Climate Agreement; Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which awards students up to $4,000 each in financial aid; the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which funds alternative energy research; Community Services Block Grants, a $715 million anti-poverty grant program; Community Development Block Grant program, which spends $3 billion in grants to support local communities; and Senior Community Service Employment Program, a job-training program for low-income seniors.
Trump plans to eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program altogether. This program provides federal support in the form of financial aid to pay heating bills. Meals on Wheels, the program that delivers food to seniors who are unable to leave their homes, will get the axe if Trump’s budget plan is approved. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which uses over 75% of its budget to help needy families pay rent, will suffer a $6 billion decrease in federal funding. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is also in Trump’s crosshairs, as is the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Legal Services Corp. (which provides free legal support to poor people), the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.
“If you’re a poor person in America, Trump’s budget is not for you,” writes the Washington Post. “Arts Organizations Are Bracing for Trump’s [cuts],” warns Rolling Stone. The Huffington Post reports “Rural Americans’ Drinking Water At Stake With Trump Budget Cuts.” USA Today writes “Bad news for low-income college students in Trump 2017 budget.” Another Washington Post report says “After White House courts HBCUs, budget disappoints school leaders.” Clearly, there is major fall-out in the wake of the White House’s budget proposal announcement, and the implications are clear: if you are poor, a student, a senior, an artist, a minority, sick, or otherwise reliant on the government for some kind of assistance, the future does not look bright for you.
But it’s not just budget cuts that deserve our attention. It’s also the budget expansion that should cause concern. As Samantha Bee humorously reported on last night’s episode of Full Frontal, Trump’s “hard-power budget” redirects money to “guns, ammo, and a moat.” “President Trump’s budget reveals something very important about him,” says Bee. “It reveals that he has no fucking clue what he’s doing.” To support this claim, she points to “one wasteful government program getting the ax”: Energy Star. Costing taxpayers about $57 million, the program saves businesses and consumers $34 billion. “But our president doesn’t give a shit about any of that. So let’s talk about something he is unhealthily obsessed with,” she says. “American carnage.”
Increased military spending is a cornerstone of the budget plan. As Mulvaney explained in a press briefing, the budget aims to “send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration.” As NPR reports, “Trump wants lawmakers to boost military spending in the coming fiscal year by 10 percent, or $54 billion” However, instead of raising taxes or increasing the deficit, all of the aforementioned cuts are meant to provide the financial breathing room for the spending “boost” in question.
Tupac Shakur’s words on “Keep Ya Head Up” are as relevant today as they were in 1993: “They got money for wars but can’t feed the poor.”