Starting with the size of the crowd that showed up on Inauguration Day, we’ve heard a lot of whoppers from President Trump. We’ve now heard another great, big, fat one: that his 2018 budget puts “America first” and is full of “compassion.” Liar, liar, pants on fire!
The proposed Trump budget doesn’t put America first. It puts the Pentagon first and Americans last: throwing billions more at an already bloated military budget and gutting every program that helps average Americans, from job training to student aid to after-school programs and more.
There’s no justification for piling another $54 billion onto the Pentagon’s roughly $600 billion budget. The generals didn’t ask for it. The White House doesn’t have a clue on what the military will spend it on. And the Pentagon doesn’t need it. The United States already spends more on the military than the next seven countries combined: more than twice China’s $216 billion; more than seven times Russia’s $84.5 billion.
To pay for that spike in defense spending, Trump proposes cuts in practically every other government program, including those Americans depend on most. “We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters in the White House briefing room while defending cuts in the following programs:
Meals on Wheels. A lifeline today for 2.4 million American seniors and disabled people, including 500,000 veterans, delivered by 5,000 community-based programs — which receive 35 percent of their funding from the departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development. Cut those two agency budgets by 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, and Meals on Wheels will leave one-third of its needy population cold and hungry.
Medical Research. The United States leads the world in biomedical research today, under the National Institute of Health (NIH). At 2,500 universities and medical centers in every state and around the world, scientists are developing new treatments for heart disease and brain disorders and closer than ever to finding a cure for cancer. Say goodbye to the cancer “moon shot.” Trump’s budget cuts NIH research by 20 percent.
International Aid. Ignoring the pleas of 120 former generals, Trump helps pay for the big boost in military spending by slashing the State Department 32 percent. Twenty million people threatened by famine in four countries? Trump cuts funding to aid. Educational and cultural exchanges with 160 countries, building friends for the United States around the globe? Trump says they’re a waste. We’ll send bombs instead.
Environmental Protection. “We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money.” That’s how Mulvaney defended cutting the Enviornmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, eliminating all climate change initiatives. Also gone: major cleanup programs for the Great Lakes, Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay.
And that’s just the beginning. That doesn’t count cuts in student loans, after-school programs, housing assistance, heating costs, rural development, or elimination of all funding for the arts and humanities. In Trumpworld, the only two priorities are the Pentagon and the $22 billion wall, which we now know that American taxpayers, not Mexico, are going to pay for.
Somehow I don’t think this Trump budget is what most people consider the way to “make American great again.”
Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down.”