Trump’s Budget Is A Nesting Doll Of Misery For Those In Need (Especially His Own Voters)

Trump’s budget is a lot like Trump himself: cold, callous, myopic, and based on big, wildly unrealistic promises…
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney</strong> holds up a copy of President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget — Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)&#8221; class=&#8221;aligncenter size-full&#8221; /><strong>Budget Director Mick Mulvaney</strong> holds up a copy of President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget — Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds up a copy of President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget — Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)” class=”aligncenter size-full” />Budget Director Mick Mulvaney holds up a copy of President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal 2018 federal budget — Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Much has already been said about the first Trump budget proposal, almost all of it about how in popularity it would rank a little below neo-Nazis stomping on puppies with combat boots and maybe just slightly above cuddling starving crocodiles. And for good reason. There’s nothing useful or important not being savagely cut with devastating consequences just to pay for massive tax breaks and a questionable military buildup. In short, it’s a rape and pillage budget.

Were you hoping scientists will have money to find new cures for cancers which afflict almost 1.7 million Americans per year? Sorry, that’s being cut and so is research into managing current diseases, preventing outbreaks of viruses that are migrating north thanks to climate change, and vaccines to help prevent them. Labs will be closed and jobs will be lost, jobs that can’t simply be replaced by businesses, which often use the basic research funded by government programs to fill their pipelines.

Did you want basic environmental protections? Yeah, that’s getting cut too while the EPA is being remade to be regulated by the very people who will benefit most from easing rules on pollution, and have been paying denialists to tell anyone within earshot that smog and soot aren’t deadly. Incidentally, you should probably check out what will happen to your seafood as a result of this if you like fish. Spoiler alert: nothing good.

Say, what was that about being able to afford college to find a new job and get new, specialized skills you need now more than ever? Of course Trump has been busy trying to gut any and all help for both educators and students in favor of more and more charter schools of various quality so parents can “shop around” for the school they like, while pricing millions out of college. Good luck with your education because you’re definitely going to need it, and the department in charge of that isn’t going to help.

And after much pledging not to touch Medicaid, Trump’s budget cuts the Children’s Health Insurance Program by at least 20% and makes steep cuts to Medicaid, shooting down programs intended to help the poorest Americans. This was actually to be expected because during the campaign his vows parted with Republican orthodoxy on the subject. GOP leaders pass off fictionalized stories arguing that one’s sense of dignity is more important than food much less healthcare, even if they’re talking about kids, so Trump is simply falling in line with his own party on these points.

Hoping this day would come, they cravenly defended his every misstep. In return, they received the budget of their wildest dreams. So if you think it will never pass, consider that Republicans did everything in their power to make sure it materialized in the first place and many of them have been chomping at the bit to make many of these devastating proposals law for the better part of a decade. Sadly, it has a very real chance of being dragged to the finish line, with a president they keep propping up after what would be political career-enders for anyone else, ready to sign it.

Supposedly, in ten years, this budget will be balanced, even after a massive round of tax cuts, and considering that what’s being cut is on the periphery of our spending that’s unbelievable. As in literally, it’s not possible to believe it because the parts of the budget that consume most of our tax revenue are untouched, or in the case of the military, increased. So how does it balance out in the end? With a mathematical error which counts a predicted growth of $2 trillion in tax receipts to pay for tax cuts, then adds the same growth again to eliminate the deficit over the coming decade.

Even if we set aside the fact that the people who prepared this budget are literally off by trillions in their arithmetic, the idea that the next 10 years will bring $2 trillion more in tax revenue thanks to a steady growth rate of 3% for the American economy is just plain wishful thinking. It’s on par with planning to buy a mansion with the money you’ll make after you get a 36% raise during your next performance review, then proceed to get the same raise every year for the next decade.

Economists who actually study how markets work predict a healthy 1.8% to 1.9% growth in the coming years. They’re not just being pessimistic. The U.S. is an advanced, mature economy with automation in almost every industry, so its workers are tremendously productive. It’s workforce is also graying as baby boomers are only now starting to retire, their original plans delayed by the Great Recession. Meanwhile, those in prime working age without a job need more education, help for which is being cut by Trump’s budget.

We also don’t have another bubble to boost economic growth beyond a 1.9% rate like we did in the 1990s with the Dot Com craze, and the 2000s with the subprime housing explosion, and neither do we want one because when they burst, the effects were extremely painful. Unless we create some brand new industries and educate a lot of new workers, which Trump doesn’t seem to want to do given his disdain for green energy and technology, we’re close to the limits of how quickly we can push our economy.

Now, whether this budget actually passes or not is a very open question, and there’s a very high likelihood that it will be changed beyond recognition. At the same time, it does say something about Trump and his priorities, and to a large extent who will lose and who will gain under his presidency. This is probably a shock, but the younger, educated, blue state coastal elites will be merely rattled by the Trump budget as older, working class residents of red states and their kids trying to find jobs, i.e. his base, are brutalized.

Every program they use and need will be severely cut, and the office which helps fight the opioid addiction pandemic primarily afflicting rural America today would be almost annihilated under the proposed budget. While he didn’t target his voters with surgical precision, he definitely used a fillet knife instead of just hacking away in cost-cutting zeal and the end result should scare them.

In true Trump fashion, after he got what he wanted from his voters he no longer cares what happens to them and the programs they rely on. He will just pay their very real problems some lip service when he feels like taking yet another victory lap when being president gets him down, and blame the issues he’s exacerbating on the Democrats that his party blatantly sidelines from any policy debate while asking for more money and votes.

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