Donald Trump wants to reform the federal government as we know it. This week, Trump proposed very deep cuts to the government while ramping up military and Department of Justice spending. The problem? These cuts hurt everyone, especially low income children and families, as well as the people who voted Trump into office.
Trump’s budget slices funding for many positive government programs in half or eliminates them entirely, such as funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (-31%), the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities (-100%), public broadcasting (-100%), after-school programs, teacher training, and work study programs (-14% in the Education Department budget).
Here’s what a Republican representative from Kentucky, Hal Rogers, had to say about the cuts:
“While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the President’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive.”
The cuts do absolutely nothing to reduce the national deficit, only redirecting these funds to the military, as if Trump is hankering for a large scale conflict that does not currently exist. Trump’s major cuts to the State Department weaken our soft, diplomatic power abroad, which could, however, result in a need for more hard power and military might.
This is not smart government, it is cruel and drastic, and demonstrates the administration’s true values. Trump and his ilk do not care about helping low income people, scientific innovation, or even their own voters.
Why would Trump approve such a tone deaf budget? I have a few ideas.
First, the Trump administration is driven by conspiracy, and thus has been producing legislation to deal with problems that only exist in their imaginations. They claim that Obamacare is a “disaster,” when it is, on the contrary, much needed health care reform that needs continual improving. This sets the stage for an overhaul. They claim that we have terrorism problems with refugees and Muslim immigrants, when most recent terrorist attacks have been committed by US citizens. This sets the stage for a Muslim ban.
Second, it is clear that Trump is delusional and not interested in solving the real problems Americans face. While he is complicit and these are all problems of his own making, this budget is reminiscent of his white nationalist advisor Stephen Bannon’s desire to minimize the bureaucracy at the expense of the American people.
On Monday, Trump signed an executive order on a “Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch.” While many presidents have unsuccessfully attempted to reform the Executive Branch, Trump’s attempts with Bannon at his side seem more pernicious.
Bannon has publicly claimed that he wishes to eliminate “the administrative state,” and Trump seems interested in making that happen. The budget cuts, the federal hiring freeze, and the sheer incompetence in this administration all amount to a government unable to do anything to help the people.
These cuts and hiring freezes also disproportionately impact low income folks and the Black middle class, respectively. Low income children and parents depend on afterschool programs, for example, to feed children who might go hungry at home. WAMU reports that 18% of federal workers are African Americans.
The American people should not have to suffer so that Trump can chase his tail and Bannon can bring some conspiracy theory to life. We have real needs and these cuts will have a real impact—and the voters will (hopefully) take notice.
Photo Credits: Flickr