On Monday, President Trump released his 2019 budget proposal, a plan that outlines a series of massive cuts to vital public programs in the ludicrously titled “A Budget for a Better America.”
While this is just a list of funding ideas that mean nothing without Congressional approval, it outlines Trump’s vision for our economic future – one that allows us already wealthy people to get even richer, at the expense of everyone else. The chief targets of the budget are a proposed $845 billion cut from Medicare over the next decade, reductions to welfare programs and Social Security, and sharp cuts to agencies that keep us safe like the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department.
Strangely, while the President can’t seem to find the money to fund these programs, he thinks the government coffers have more than enough to fund $8.6 billion in border wall funding and a nearly 5 percent increase to the Pentagon’s budget.
It’s no secret that Republicans have been trying to gut public services for years, so what makes this new plan particularly heinous? It’s not just the immediate spikes in healthcare costs or the loss of crucial welfare assistance. It’s not even the fact that slashing those vital public services that will leave the majority of our most vulnerable citizens in an even more precarious position long-term.
It’s the shameless hypocrisy that comes from the President claiming we don’t have the money to fund all these services when he just gave his friends (and himself) a massive $1.5 trillion tax cut barely over a year ago. You would be hard pressed to find anyone outside of the White House who believes that the country is better off with more tax cuts for millionaires and less funding for Medicare.
To add further insult to injury, Trump’s budget proposal is the largest in federal history, at a total budget of $4.75 trillion. There was clearly no real attempt to limit federal spending, and this budget is going to be dead on arrival in Congress, which leads to the question: what’s the point?
With no chance of this budget becoming law anytime soon, it’s likely, then, that this serves as a blueprint for Trump’s re-election promises. That future is the true danger of Trump’s budget. Even if this is just a posturing plan right now, one that’s completely unrooted in reality, it serves as the economic vision that Republicans will propose to voters in 2020, and one they will try to deliver if elected.
When someone tells you who they are, believe them. If Trump and his Republican counterparts in Congress say they want to cut Medicare, believe them. If they tell you that they want to continue giving tax breaks to the wealthy while that happens, believe them. And you should believe me when I say this vision is bad economics – bad for business, bad for workers, and even bad for us millionaire investors and business people, who depend on healthy and happy consumers and workers to drive growth.
Conservatives rely on the constant refrain that spending is out of control and that cuts are needed to rein it in and balance the budget. But as this budget shows, the cuts come from everywhere except the people and corporations that have the most to give back to the system that allowed us to rise in the first place. It exacerbates our existing inequality by slashing these services and giving us millionaires even more opportunity to avoid paying our fair share. A better America is one that invests its dollars in its own citizens and ensures an equality of opportunity that benefits us all. A budget designed by robber barons to benefit the few, at the expense of everyone else, will not deliver that dream.