Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Trump Budget: Good News For All Sadists!

Now this budget is fun if you are a sadist.  It drowns the military in money so as to enable it to kill more people and it also withdraws money from those who are the weakest, frailest and the poorest among us.

It slashes the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thereby  revving up the speed with which climate change will make certain parts of the world inhabitable.  That, in turn, will increase the floods of migrants to countries which still remain habitable.  But the budget then cuts US assistance to refugee organizations as well as general foreign aid, including the Food For Peace program which provides food assistance in emergencies.

The State Department will also find its budget severely cut. This decreases the money available for diplomacy, but who needs diplomats when we have guns and will buy many, many more?

It kills the National Endowments for Arts and Humanities, because only the coastal latte-sipping liberals need culture which, in any case, is girly stuff.*  Guns are guy stuff.

The poor get to bear much of the burden of making the military sated with money:

While border guards will have more prisons to lock up unauthorized immigrants, rural communities will lose grants and loans to build water facilities and financing to keep their airports open. As charter schools are bolstered, after-school and summer programs will lose money. As law enforcement agents get more help to fight the opioid epidemic, lower-income Americans will have less access to home energy aid, job training programs and legal services.


Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.

During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.

Ironically, the white working class voters in rural areas, deemed by some to have been the group which won the election for Trump** are among the ones who are going to be whipped by this budget:

The White House budget cuts will fall hardest on the rural and small town communities that Trump won, where one in three people are living paycheck to paycheck — a rate that is 24 percent higher than in urban counties, according to a new analysis by the center.

Perhaps they will not be too unhappy, given that the urban poor appear to be the special focus for this budgetary sadism:

The administration’s reforms include eliminating funding for a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, one of the longest continuously run HUD programs that’s been in existence since 1974.

The program provides cities with money to address a range of community development needs such as affordable housing, rehabilitating homes in neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures, and preventing or eliminating slums and community blight. It also provides funding for Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit that delivers food to homebound seniors.

Robert Rector, a senior fellow who focuses on welfare at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the community block grants a “slush fund for urban government.”

During his campaigning Trump repeatedly promised to eradicate all poverty from low-income urban areas.  Is this the way he plans to achieve that?

The budget is unlikely to pass in its present form.  But it's a wake-up call for the new Trump Reich rules, a speech clearer than most of Trump's boasts on how he views the future of this country.

There will be a lot of aggressive posturing, money will not be spent on the poor but on a giant wall against the foreign poor.  Money will be spent on guns, not on plowshares, and money will be spent on preparing for war, not on preventing it.


* Republicans have always wanted to kill these, always.  And the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is going to get less money, too, despite its sharp recent tilt toward a conservative bias.

It's worth noting here that if Trump didn't take a Florida vacation most every weekend, we could afford to keep the National Endowments for Arts and Humanities.  But as I noted in the text, culture is girly crap.

** In the sense of the straw that broke the camel's back.  The vast majority of Trump voters were the same Republicans who voted for Romney in 2012, and we should not forget this.

Still, Trump is not honoring some of his promises that he gave at the rallies where he was adulated:

Parts of the budget proposal also appear to contradict Trump’s agenda. Trump has said he wants to eliminate all disease, but the budget chops funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, or close to 20 percent. He has said he wants to create a $1 trillion infrastructure program, but the proposal would eliminate a Transportation Department program that funds nearly $500 million in road projects. It does not include new funding amounts or a tax mechanism for Trump’s infrastructure program, postponing those decisions.