The Trump Budget

This week, the Trump Administration revealed their 2019 budget. If there was still any doubt about the priorities of the Trump regime and the Republican Party in general, this budget makes it very clear what they value – and the people and issues they hold in low regard.

Back in 2016 during his campaign, candidate Trump declared himself the champion of Americans who have felt abused or ignored by the federal government. Then as soon as Trump entered the White House he assembled a bizarre collection of advisors with personal interests that actually opposed their departments’ missions. It didn’t take long to see that his campaign promises were going to be quickly reinterpreted.

Even so, this week’s budget presentation is the first broad declaration of how the reactionaries presently in charge of our nation’s policies want to re-shape America’s future.

Ironically, the same people who obstructed President Obama’s every big-bills-money.jpgeconomic initiative claiming concern for the debt it would create, now have no concerns about adding billions more in debt after just recently decreasing established revenue streams. Last year’s big “tax reform” gave nearly 50% of the tax cuts to Americans in the top 1% income bracket and created $1.5 trillion in national debt over the next ten years.

The single biggest increase in the Trump budget is for Department of Defense spending. It will be up $74 billion to a total of $686 billion – More money for everything the Pentagon wants. We now spend more than the next 8 nations combined. (But won’t this year’s parade past the White House be exciting!)

And how do we make up for the billions in tax savings given to the very rich and another huge reward to the military-industrial complex? We cut spending in areas that are “unimportant” to Trump and his legislators.

Here are a few examples of those Republican cuts: 

— A cut of more than $3 billion from the Education Department (while investing $1.6 billion to support private school vouchers and other school choice programs).
— A cut of more than $8.9 billion in the State Department (23%).
— A 25% cut in the EPA budget from $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion that eliminates many programs including radon detection and water quality restoration in the Gulf of Mexico and Puget Sound.
— A 66% budget cut for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which studies advanced transportation, wind and solar energy.
— A cut of $17.2 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – Over the next 10 years SNAP cuts will total $213.5 billion.
— A cut in funding of the subsidies that help more than four in five people with ACA marketplace health plans afford insurance premiums.
— A $5 billion increase over the next five years to combat the opioid epidemic when experts say this is just a fraction of what is needed.
— A reduction in Section 8 federal housing subsidies.
— Elimination of the $1.9 billion fund for public housing capital repairs.
— A $33 million reduction (92%) of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports land acquisition and restoration efforts using federal revenue from oil and gas drilling off the Outer Continental Shelf.
— A cut in funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants -support for those who lose their jobs in natural disasters or factory closures – from $219.5 million in 2017 to $51 million in 2019.
— A “wind down” of the Capital Investment Grants program – a major source of transit funding.
— A zeroing out of grants to states and local governments to increase homeownership for the lowest-income Americans, fund neighborhood redevelopment and help in disaster recovery.
— New legislation to institute work requirements for Americans receiving housing subsidies, on a broad scale.
— Shrinking funding for Adult Employment and Training Activities, which serve veterans, Native Americans and young people who have dropped out of high school.

There are more cuts I could list, but you get the idea.

With the publication of the Trump 2019 Budget we now can see for sure what these guys want to do to our country. And as we enter the 2018 Mid-term Election Year, this is very helpful.

Every Democratic candidate now has documented proof that electing Republican candidates in this year’s mid-terms can only lead our nation backwards. And each one of us who works a phone bank or walks a neighborhood or simply talks with friends about this year’s voting choices has an even firmer place to stand.

This Sunday, February 18, in Wilmette you can take an important step toward pushing back against the relentless Republican efforts to make the America we know unrecognizable. Come join us for the NTDO Election Year Kickoff at the Wilmette Rec. Center. You’ll be glad you did.

Nels Howard
NTDO member since 1973

P.S. If you’d like to read a fuller explanation of the budget cuts and increases in Trump’s 2019 budget, click here.