“This is the America First budget,” says White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney of the budget blueprint just released by our ill Duce. Yet the Trump budget blueprint shows an obsession with others, with outsiders, and an obliviousness to the general welfare we achieve through good government.
The President introduces the budget saying that his “Government… puts the needs of its own people first.” Yet he defines needs as safety, “because without safety, there can be no prosperity.”
Thus begins a fearful, outward-looking budget that lists these five priorities, in this order:
My Budget Blueprint for 2018:
- provides for one of the largest increases in defense spending without increasing the debt;
- significantly increases the budget for immigration enforcement at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security;
- includes additional resources for a wall on the southern border with Mexico, immigration judges, expanded detention capacity, U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Border Patrol;
- increases funding to address violent crime and reduces opioid abuse; and
- puts America first by keeping more of America’s hard-earned tax dollars here at home [Pres. Donald J. Trump, introduction to FY2018 budget blueprint, 2017.03.15].
The Trump budget spends $54 billion more on the military, yet it cuts 28%, $10.9 billion, from foreign aid, the assistance that often keeps us from having to deploy our military. It tells Congress to find four billion American dollars (not Mexican pesos) to spend on the border wall, but it can’t find a ninth of that figure to keep Big Bird on TV:
“There’s a lot of programs that simply cannot justify their existence and that’s where we zeroed in,” Mulvaney said. One of those programs, apparently, is Sesame Street: Mulvaney confirmed that the administration will seek to eliminate the federal government’s involvement with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which directs funds to public radio and TV stations. The CPB receives $445 million annually in federal funding, which Trump wants to drop to nearly zero in the coming years [Russell Berman, “President Trump’s ‘Hard Power’ Budget,” The Atlantic, 2017.03.16].
Trump’s FY2018 increase in war spending could fund public broadcasting for 121 years, or the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (also cut by Trump) for 13,500 years.
The President gives the Department of Homeland Security more money to go chase bad guys, but it takes $667 million away from the grants FEMA gives to states and local governments to cope with disasters. In other words, if a problem calls for helmets and guns, Trump is there, but if the disaster just calls for sandbags and shovels or just planning ahead with preventative measures, well, states, you’re on your own.
This “America First Budget” eliminates the National Endowment for the Arts, the national Endowment for the Humanities, Community Development Block Grants, rural water and wastewater loans and grants, AmeriCorps, the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program that supports before- and after-school programs and summer learning programs conducted by 33 different South Dakota school districts and non-profits, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property (worth $4.5 million to the Douglas school district), the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy that the 2007 Congress and President Bush created to drive energy innovation technologies, the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program that spent nearly $21 million in FY2014 to help poor South Dakotans keep their heat on through the winter, health professions and nursing training programs, the Flood Hazard Mapping Program, the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account, the Energy Star labeling program, the Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerators program that helped launch the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship in Sioux Falls, and much more. Yet amidst all those cuts, the Trump budget doesn’t get around to identifying funding for rebuilding American infrastructure, the one big domestic investment Trump has touted.
The Trump budget blueprint uses forms of the word eliminate 61 times. It uses the word help 20 times.
The Trump budget spends more money on hurting others and less money on helping Americans and our neighbors.
The Trump budget builds more fences and security alarms by hocking our furniture and slashes our grocery budget. The Trump budget leaves us sitting on the floor eating Ramen noodles in a better-barricaded house that’s harder to get around in and harder to visit.
This budget blueprint puts fear first, not Americans and not American ideals.