Trump’s $4.8 trillion spending plan, including a $1 trillion deficit, proposes an 8 per cent hike, to $780 billion, in spending for the military and cuts just about everywhere else: Food stamps, Social Security ($30 billion drop in disability benefits spending), Medicaid ($700 billion-$1 trillion slashed over 10 years), and Medicare.
CONGRESSIONAL Democrats, progressive groups, and defenders of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid all blasted President Donald Trump’s proposed Budget cuts for the fiscal year that starts October 1. Two top Government worker unions chimed, in, too, slamming Trump for proposing only a 1 per cent raise for calendar 2021, far below inflation and below this year’s 3.1 per cent, which Trump had resisted. Meanwhile, Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten blasted Trump’s plans to slash programmes that help kids—and their parents. Trump’s $4.8 trillion spending plan, including a $1 trillion deficit, proposes an 8 per cent hike, to $780 billion, in spending for the military and cuts just about everywhere else: Food stamps, Social Security ($30 billion drop in disability benefits spending), Medicaid ($700 billion-$1 trillion slashed over 10 years), and Medicare. One estimate put Trump’s Medicare cut at $478 billion over a decade, while another, from former Democratic White House aide Keith Boykin, topped $850 billion. The Medicaid cuts would both throw people out of the programme and cut the payments the Federal Government makes to States for those who remain.
Reiterating a longtime GOP goal, Trump wants to make those Medicaid payments into block grants and cap them. States can then use—or not use—as they please. Block grants would let Republican-run States cut benefits even more. Trump vowed in his State of the Union address the previous week he would not cut Medicare or Social Security but was silent about Medicaid, which aids the poor and the disabled. The month before, in Switzerland, he advocated cutting all three.
His Budget does just that. Other Trump cuts would hit the Labour Department (-11 per cent), the Environmental Protection Agency (-26.5 per cent), federal education aid (-8 per cent), and a wide range of other domestic programmes, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Programme and federal student loans. Trump even wants to cut the Centers for Disease Control by 9 per cent, just days after that agency told lawmakers it needs more money to help battle the coronavirus. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ind-Vt., had the sharpest words for Trump’s $4.8 trillion spending plan—and he posted them on his Senate website, not through his presidential campaign.
“Immoral,” was the kindest comment he had about what is an intensely political document—and one that is likely dead on arrival in Congress. “The Trump Budget is an immoral document. It is a Budget that takes our collective resources and hands them to the wealthiest families and largest corporations in this country and ignores the needs of the most vulnerable among us,” said Sanders. “The Trump Budget for 2021 is a Budget of, by, and for the 1 per cent,” said Sanders. “It reflects profoundly unethical priorities and shows the President is—and it gives me no great pleasure to say this—a liar.”
“What kind of unbelievable moral framework allowed this White House to propose $182 billion in cuts to nutrition assistance from needy families when nearly one in seven households with children are food insecure?” the Vermonter added. As top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders could have some say on what type of Budget lawmakers eventually produce—one that would largely ignore Trump’s spending blueprint, if, that is, lawmakers can get their act together and produce a spending plan of their own. Groups defending women, children, and the elderly also panned Trump’s plan. “This Budget foreshadows the broader attack on seniors’ earned benefits that President Trump hinted at in a recent interview when he said that cutting ‘entitlements’ is ‘the easiest of all things.’
Our most vulnerable citizens should not be expected to pay for policies that favour the wealthy and big corporations, most notably the Trump/GOP tax cuts of 2017,” said Max Richtman, President of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. His group pointed out that Trump would not only cut Medicare and Social Security, which the elderly depend upon for income and health care payments but would—again—eliminate heating aid for low-income people, including low-income elderly. “One would hope that in an election year when politicians like to put forward their most popular ideas, the President would understand the benefits of protecting our most cherished income and health security programmes. It’s time he delivers what the American people have been asking for, as indicated by poll after poll, and not the dangerous proposals of his fiscal ax-men,” Richtman said.
“The Budget is a statement of values and once again, the President is showing just how little he values the good health, financial security, and well-being of hard-working American families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., added. “Year after year, President Trump’s budgets have sought to inflict devastating cuts to critical lifelines that millions of Americans rely on. Less than a week after promising to protect families’ health care in his State of the Union address, the President is now brazenly inflicting savage multi-billion-dollar cuts to Medicare and Medicaid—at the same time, he is fighting in federal court to destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions and dismantle every other protection and benefit of the Affordable Care Act.
“Americans’ quality, affordable health care will never be safe with President Trump. The American people sent a Democratic House majority to Washington to fight for the people to lower their health care costs, and that is exactly what we will continue to do.” “This budget proposal tells the American people everything they need to know about President Trump’s priorities, because the things that matter most to Americans—like providing their families a path to a better life, economic security, and a voice in democracy—are on the chopping block,” AFT’s Weingarten said.
After listing Trump’s cuts to health care, Social Security, housing, higher education, worker training, his plan to block grant public education money, and his slashes at food stamps, she asked: “And for what?” “Further tax cuts for the wealthy, money”—$2 billion—“for Trump’s border wall, and a $5 billion voucher scheme to funnel taxpayer money out of public schools and into private schools. Trump’s values aren’t the people’s values.” (IPA) (Courtesy: People’s World)