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Trump’s Nightmare Budget

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

Two things can be said with certainty about Trump’s 2020 budget request: It is DOA, dead on arrival, in the House; and it is a political document, catering to his loyal supporters, rather than a serious fiscal statement. What the budget request reveals is that Trump, left to his own devices, would further skewer the middle class and low-income groups, downgrade diplomacy and environmental protection, give the military more than it really wants or needs, and fulfill his obsession with a border wall. To say the budget is revolting and immoral would be a vast understatement. But it may (and should) give Democrats additional evidence of Trump’s unfitness to lead.

Below is a quick breakdown of the budget proposal. The Washington Post has a very good analysis March 13, 2019, at the source for the figures below.

Proposed changes to funding in Trump’s budget

-31% Environmental Protection Agency
-24% State and USAID
-19% Transportation
-16% Housing and Urban Development
-15% Agriculture
-14% Interior
-12% Health and Human Services
-12% Education
-11% Energy
-10% Labor
-2% Justice
-2% NASA
-2% Treasury
+5% Defense
+7% Commerce
+7% Homeland Security
+8% Veterans Affairs

Key proposed additions
–Adds more than $33 billion to the Department of Defense budget, for a total of $718 billion, 57 percent of the proposed federal discretionary budget
–Allocates $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, on top of the close to $7 billion Trump already announced in his national emergency declaration
–Sets aside $750 million to establish a paid parental leave program and $1 billion for a one-time fund to help underserved populations and encourage company investment in child-care
–Commits $291 million toward ending the spread of HIV in the United States within a decade, a promise Trump made in his State of the Union last month

Key proposed cuts
–Cuts $845 billion over the next 10 years from Medicare, the federal program that provides health insurance to older Americans
–Removes $241 billion from Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income Americans, over the next decade as part of an overhaul that shifts more power to states
–Slashes $220 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next decade, with proposed reforms including mandatory work requirements and food box delivery service in lieu of cash benefits for low-income families
–Reductions to the federal student loan programs that total $207 billion in the next 10 years and include eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness and subsidized student loans.

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Mel Gurtov is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspective, an international affairs quarterly and blogs at In the Human Interest.

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