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Editorial: Trump's budget shows a shocking lack of compassion

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Posted on May 25, 2017 |
By Angelo S. Lynn



For the first 100-plus days of Trump’s presidency, he has ruled by the seat of his pants — undoing sensible measures with the flick of a signature, and with about as much thought. He has been called our “child president” because of his childish antics and spoiled behavior, and because he lacks self-discipline. Nor has he seemed to care or even acknowledge that his actions have immediate as well as long-term consequences for others.

For all the world, this president acts like he is still on the set of the Apprentice and that he is the star of his own reality show.

But with the release of Trump’s budget yesterday, it is clear that more and more people will be adversely affected by the direction Trump takes the country — and that is serious business.

His budget boosts military spending 10 percent of an amount that is already obscenely large. He would spend $1.6 billion on the start of an ill-conceived wall separating this country and Mexico — and American taxpayers, not Mexico, are going to pay for it. And he would cut taxes by hundreds of billions of dollars to give to the richest people in the country, while decimating programs that help the poor and middle class.

He has proposed vast cuts in food stamps, low-income housing, Medicare and Medicaid, student loans, rental assistance, heating assistance to the elderly, rural health and substance-abuse initiatives, work training programs, adult education, and aid throughout the world to name just a few of the programs slated to be cut.

Remember that pledge not to cut Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. He just went back on his word. And that nonsense Trump told you about making his health care plan so much better than Obamacare? All lies to get elected.  Nor should you believe the ludicrous spiel from Trump’s team that this budget will reduce the deficit in a decade: only if you assume economic growth double what we currently have and don’t bother to factor in the huge loss of revenue from the tax cuts (which Trump’s budget doesn’t do.)

As economist Lawrence Summers, the former treasury secretary, said this week: “This is a mistake no serious business person would make. It appears to be the most egregious accounting error in a presidential budget in the nearly 40 years I have been tracking them.”

Trump doesn’t seem to care, or even know, and his team is willing to lie to prop up false narratives. The problem is that Trump’s rhetoric and his proposals have real consequences. It’s no longer just a campaign.

In his budget, he would deny hundreds of thousands of elderly Americans the fuel assistance they need to stay warm in the winter; he would deny food to those unable to find jobs; he would axe job training programs so those who lost jobs (through no fault of their own) would not be able to find or afford the necessary training to learn new skills. He would cut drug-abuse programs so those suffering from that disease would have a tougher time rebuilding their lives. He would reduce or cut farm subsidies, making an already tough job even tougher. In slashing food aid to Africa, hundreds of thousands of Africans, a report recently stated, would likely die of starvation. There is a reason President George W. Bush supported, and even increased, America’s food aid during his presidency. It is a life and death matter to many people, and America has long demonstrated its willingness to help others in dire need.

The question facing the nation today is when will Americans say this president has gone too far? Will crime have to rise in our streets from Americans who, under this budget, might be without food assistance, or shelter, or the training to get a new job and are pushed to the point of desperation? Will those who have stubbornly supported Trump have to see state taxes rise to make up for federal shortfalls before they understand that Trump’s budget priorities are perverse? Will they have to see the economic divide grow impossibly worse between the top 10 percent and the bottom 90 percent before they understand that a nation’s tax policy is nothing less than a balancing act between wealth distribution and economic growth based on a country’s sense of economic justice and fairness?

While Congress drafts the actual spending and tax plans, the importance of the president’s budget is that it reflects his values and provides a sense of how the administration will govern. And that is why this budget is so shocking — it clearly reflects Trump’s shallowness, his ignorance and his callous disregard for the welfare of others.

It is not a budget that makes America great again. Rather, it ransacks our national treasury, pushes us closer to a military state ruled by corporate elites, and denies the majority of Americans the help they need to afford a college education, or workplace training, and get jobs that allow for financial independence and success. And it is clearly a budget designed to benefit the wealthiest few at the expense of everyone else: we knew that it would be, but to see it cast so blatantly is shocking, too.

If that’s the America you want, Trump’s your man. If not, it’s time to start fighting against policies that will make us a poorer nation in every way.

Angelo Lynn

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