Beware the Future Trump’s Budget Foretells

Republicans railed against federal budget deficits when a Democrat was in the White House.  Now they don’t think red ink is such a big deal.  The budget busting tax cut they rammed through Congress last December confirmed their hypocrisy.  Some conservatives in the U.S. House continue to complain about the burgeoning federal debt but they are eager to use it as a battering ram to breakdown the social safety net and weaken the federal government.

President Trump’s budget proposal for fiscal years 2019 through 2028 didn’t get much attention in the media this spring but it provides a partial blueprint for the Republican agenda.  Thanks to the Congressional Budget Office and Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation we have a detailed analysis of Trump’s spending plans.  Every voter needs understand what he’s proposing before November.  Make no mistake; this election will have huge consequences.

As expected, Trump wants to extend and make permanent those provisions of the 2017 tax act that are due to expire in 2025.  This will add another $600 billion to federal deficits over 10 years.  To offset the revenue lost due to his tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Trump wants to scale back federal programs and services.

Health care is always the number one target of GOP spending cuts, particularly Medicaid.  Trump’s budget assumes the complete repeal of Obamacare, which would cancel the Medicaid expansion in 33 states and eliminate the federal subsidies it provides to purchase health insurance.  Federal Medicaid funding would be capped on a per-enrollee, inflation-adjusted basis and states would receive block grants to manage the health care needs of its less fortunate citizens.  Total federal support for Medicaid over the next decade would be reduced by almost $1 trillion, leaving millions of Americans without adequate health insurance.

Medicare is one of the most popular federal programs and one of the most expensive.  Perhaps because Trump promised not to touch Medicare during the campaign his budget only cuts $114 billion from Medicare spending over 10 years.  Still, his proposals would require Medicare Part D beneficiaries to pay higher out-of-pocket expenses for some prescription drugs and reduce Medicare payments to certain health care providers.  Most Republicans in Congress favor much deeper cuts.  They want to transition Medicare from a government entitlement to a premium support program where profit-minded insurance companies would control health care for the elderly.

Another favorite for Republican spending cuts is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), which helps needy individuals purchase food.  The Trump budget would cut $70 billion from this program through 2028.  Republicans will also push to impose strict work requirements that will eliminate many current beneficiaries.

The President’s oft touted trillion-dollar infrastructure program isn’t funded in his budget.  He provides for a mere $43 billion in more spending to repair roads, bridges, airports and the like over the coming decade.

Trump would only reduce Social Security benefits by around $18 billion over 10 years.  Most of that would result from some restrictions on disability insurance benefits.  But congressional Republicans want to further reduce benefits by applying a lower annual inflation adjustment rate called chained CPI.  Many of our elderly would suffer even if a few dollars were cut from their monthly benefits. And over time these yearly reductions would add up.

The President proposes cutting subsidies for federal student loans that would save the government $103 billion between 2019 and 2028 and he would reduce outlays for job training.  Trump would increase defense spending by $674 billion and slash budgets for other government agencies by a whopping 37 percent ($2 trillion) over the next decade.  The State Department, the EPA, the Small Business Administration, the Transportation Department and the Agriculture Department would be degraded by budget cuts from 29 to 15 percent respectively.  Federal funding for education would also be cut significantly.

Republicans frequently talk about freedom – except, of course, for a woman’s reproductive rights and the LGBT community.  Primarily they mean freedom from government control.  But I keep wondering what they envision for the average American?  What public good is accomplished by giving tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy?  How is the welfare of the nation improved by cutting health care benefits and food stamp funding?  Whose life is improved when environmental protections are eliminated and public education is downgraded?  And how is the Republican brand of “freedom” good for the elderly, the poor, the sick and the hungry?

The way I see it, there are three major components of American society, the people, the government and corporations.  The people have lost significant influence due to special interest money in politics while major corporations have steadily gained power.  These large entities aren’t concerned about public welfare; their quest is to increase shareholder profits.  Yet Trump, who campaigned as a “drain the swamp” populist, and the GOP want to cripple the federal agencies that are responsible for protecting us from corporate abuses.  Isn’t it obvious that the deep budget cuts Trump is proposing will eventually leave Americans at the mercy of a corporate plutocracy?

Wresting control of Congress from Republicans this fall isn’t just about getting some leverage over Trump and applying real oversight to the corruption that is permeating his administration.  It’s also about preventing wealthy special interests from gaining more control over “we the people.”

About eeldav

I am a retired corporate attorney who has lived in both Europe and Asia. While working my responsibilities took me to over 40 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
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7 Responses to Beware the Future Trump’s Budget Foretells

  1. Ron Partin says:

    Well-put! Are there none so blind as those who will not see. It will take generations to undo all all his disastrous policies. Where did the GOP go?

    Like

    • Tim Sheeran says:

      A related question— how did we let this happen in the 2016 election? And where the the Dem leadership to take the steps necessary to stop this massacre of so much in programs that have helped so many over the last forty years?

      Like

  2. Sue says:

    Ron….the end of this one could be a campaign speech! You may have a new profession in your retirement years. Well written with tons of great information I didn’t necessarily want to hear. The whole thing makes me nauseous so I’m glad you are in there deciphering it all as I can only take so much. Great post!

    Like

  3. John says:

    Well done Ron. Too bad that facts do not matter much in our country right now. This must be very frustrating for you. I worry about “blue wave” confidence. What is there to support this confidence? Is there concrete policy that the average person can grasp? Democrats and media are making the same mistake they made in 2016, running and talking anti-Trump, thinking that is enough to win. The country knew he was unfit in 2016 but still elected him to stick it to DC for decades of government failing the people. The voters created the chaos they wanted and have not yet figured out that they are not getting the change they expected from all those campaign lies. So what has changed? His support is actually growing! When you add in others who would not vote for Jesus running as a Democrat, it seems that we are stuck with the wretched status quo for another 6 years. Democrats can’t even learn simple things from the sound-bite campaign that propelled Trump, his mind-numbing repetition of stupid, lying “policy” mantras. We must have dozens of fact-based mantras that could reach the average person and be spread across the country. Where are they? Starting with: If innocent, why is he acting so guilty? Repeated by everyone, all the time. Democrats are doing better with getting good candidates to run but otherwise seem to be running somewhat blind to the reality of our times. Am I wrong? And here in the mountains…is there ANYTHING that could turn this region away from mean-spirited politics? Keep on, Ron. I admire your persistence in the face of such odds.

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  4. Paul says:

    Thanks for writing this, Ron. I had no idea Trump wants to nearly eliminate Medicaid and cut Medicare! With all the attention currently paid to the crimes being investigted by Mueller, the amount of long-term damage Trump’s tax cuts and deficit spending will do probably usurps that of Russian collusion during the 2016 election. That is a more serious, more wide-ranging crime than collusion, to my mind. Trump and his Republican allies need to be stopped before they get away with this.

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  5. The stuff you’re selling here is standard liberal politics, there’s nothing out of the ordinary, no surprises. And you’re guilty of the same thing we see so much of from the left, a lack of understanding of the priorities and motivations of the right. You do not understand why people of good faith on the right believe the things we do and so you scratch your head, after rightly pointing out that we have a debt and deficit problem that even a GOP congress seems uninterested in dealing with all of a sudden, that Republicans want to target things like entitlements, subsidies and Obamacare, and slash agency budgets to cut costs. They want to increase infrastructure spending less than you’d like and military spending by more than you’d like. They’re opposed to abortion.

    None of this should be at all surprising to anyone, it’s nothing new, it’s not done in secret and it’s not motivated by evil. Why not just acknowledge that liberals prefer more government and conservatives prefer less?

    Like

    • John says:

      No it is not “standard Liberal Politics.” You are clearly not reading what Ron is writing, at least not reading carefully. Lies and uncivil mad-teenager behavior by the president are certainly not standard conservative behavior either. Ron is just trying to restore civil government that actually gets things done for the betterment of the country and our people. Not sure he is a big government guy. I think he is a goverment-that-works guy. and we have not had a government that works very well for a very long time.

      Like

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