FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Trump’s “March Massacre” Budget

While much of the country tunes into March Madness, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the White House has unleashed a March Massacre, its “skinny budget” plan for 2018. Budgets often seem impenetrable, packed with a blizzard of numbers too big to comprehend. But budgets are value statements. They tell us what we value and what we discount. President Donald Trump’s budget reveals who counts and who does not.

Trump believes in walls. This budget includes a $2 billion-plus down payment — paid by U.S. taxpayers, not the Mexicans — for his famous wall on the border. It also builds a wall around the wealthy and around the military-industrial complex. They are protected and rewarded; the rest of us are at risk.

The first priority for Trump is a “massive” tax cut for the wealthy and the corporations. A first installment came with his health care plan that cuts the top-end taxes used to subsidize health care under Obamacare and pays for that tax cut by depriving millions of health insurance (14 million in the first year, according to the Congressional Budget Office estimate). Older, lower-wage workers and those living in rural areas — ironically, a source of many Trump votes — get hurt the most.

Trump’s “skinny budget” doesn’t contain his tax cut plan. That is promised in May. But the budget is disciplined by that plan, so increases in military spending are “paid for” by cuts in domestic programs. We don’t know yet how Trump will finance his tax cuts. This budget excludes any reporting on mandatory programs like Social Security and Medicare. What’s clear is that Trump will either violate his promise to protect those programs or violate his pledge to balance the budget in a decade. The March Massacre is likely to be followed by a May Monstrosity.

Trump will add 10 percent, or $54 billion, to the Pentagon’s budget over its baseline (3 percent and $18 billion over Obama’s plan). The Pentagon already spends more than the countries with next eight largest military budgets combined. Its books are so messed up that they cannot be audited. Cost overruns, sole-source contract rip-offs and massive waste are routine. What we need are not smarter missiles but wiser policies. But wisdom is not protected behind the wall: Trump would cut funding for diplomacy by nearly 30 percent. Even military generals and admirals have protested against this folly.

Trump lays waste to the domestic programs beyond his walls. The most vulnerable take the biggest hit. His budget would devastate rural areas, cutting regional development authorities, support for rural radio stations and rural airports, support for clean water projects and more. Combined with his health care plan, Trump is betraying his biggest supporters. Rep. Harold Rogers of Kentucky denounced the reductions as “draconian, careless and counterproductive.” And he’s a Republican.

Trump abandons his pledge to rebuild our inner cities. His budget cuts funds for virtually every program for impacted communities — community development block grants, preschool and after-school programs, summer enrichment programs, help for students to prepare for college, college work-study and grant programs, infant nutrition for impoverished mothers with children, and housing and rent subsidy programs. If passed, this budget will produce more unemployment, more poverty, more despair and more shattered dreams. Trump deals with this by calling for a return to aggressive police tactics, giving police the impossible task of sustaining order amid despair.

Trump tramples his promise to working people. This budget contains no hint of a program to rebuild America. It decimates Labor Department funding to enforce worker health and safety in factories and mines, to protect against wage theft, to ensure that minimum wage and fair-hours laws are respected.

Much more is left on the cutting room floor. Programs to deal with climate change are gutted. The Republican fixation on Planned Parenthood and rolling back support for women’s health care continues. The budget makes a bizarre assault on science and research, cutting even the medical research at the National Institutes of Health.

Congressional Republicans have called Trump’s budget dead on arrival. They can’t raise military spending without gaining Democratic votes, and Democrats will block the deepest and more perverse cuts. But the thrust of Trump’s budget reflects the values that govern the Republican congressional majorities. They won’t get everything they want, but what they get will leave America more unequal, more vulnerable, with greater poverty and despair from Chicago’s inner cities to Appalachia’s rural hollows.

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail