I've Reviewed Some Cruel Budgets

I've Never Seen Anything Crueler Than This.

By Robert Reich

February 15, 2018 "Information Clearing House" - I wasn’t going to write about Trump’s budget, because it’s dead on arrival in Congress. But its unbridled cruelty is so alarming that I can't resist saying something.

Bear in mind, this budget increases overall federal spending and it comes on top of a huge cut in taxes for corporations and the wealthy. In other words, its purpose is not at all to reduce the federal budget deficit or federal debt.

Here goes:

1. Trump calls for huge increase in defense spending – 13 percent more next year alone. And as you know, our military budget is already bigger than the next five largest nation's military budgets put together, and is larded with waste as it is.

2. Trump wants to slash safety nets Americans depend on:

(a) He proposes cutting Medicare by $554 billion and Medicaid by around $250 billion over the next decade.

(b) He wants to slashes Medicaid. (The Trump administration has already approval Kentucky and Indiana’s requests to impose work requirements on adult Medicaid recipients – even though there’s not a shred of evidence that access to health care has kept people from working. It’s just the opposite. Lack of access to health care has kept people from working.)

(c) He'd cut disability insurance.

(d) He'd cut housing assistance.

(e) He'd slash food stamps by nearly 30 percent over the decade -- and he's proposing to give food stamp recipients pre-selected boxes of food!

3. And you can forget about helping people get ahead.

(a) Trump aims to cut a large swathe of the Education Department’s budget designed to help needy children — including after-school activities to keep kids off the street and a grant program for college students with “exceptional financial need.”

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(b) Yet he’d increase spending by more than $1 billion on private school vouchers.

(c) He’d also slash funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants, which support people who lose jobs because of factory closures or natural disasters, as well as cutting adult employee and training, which helps high-school dropouts and veterans.

Bottom line: I've reviewed some pretty cruel budgets (Reagan's first budget, George W. Bush's first budget, for example). But I've never seen anything crueler than this, less justified by the facts, and seemingly more intended to hurt vulnerable people. Trump has taken social Darwinism to a new level of absurdity.

What do you think?


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