It’s only been two months and one thing is clear: our billionaire president is a brazen reverse-Robin Hood. There’s a running theme at work here, and it’s impossible to ignore.
Let’s start with The American Health Care Act. The replacement bill does not fix Obamacare, it doesn’t provide patient-centered care and it certainly doesn’t cover more people. What it does do is redistribute money back up to the top, while leaving low-income earners without options. It’s not a health care bill, it’s a tax break for the rich. As the non-partisan Tax Policy Center noted, those who earn $3.9 million or more per year (the top 0.1%) are the largest beneficiaries of the bill as they stand to receive an average of $207,000 per year—40% of the tax cuts go to the top 1%.
These tax cuts are paid for by cutting benefits to the poorest Americans. The bill cuts Medicaid by $880 billion, and eliminates Planned Parenthood funding entirely. Medicaid and Planned Parenthood are vital programs for low-income earning Americans (ie. people who need assistance to receive medical care so they don’t die in the street), and they’re being slashed to bits to siphon funds to those who don’t need help. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicaid reduction would result in “14 million fewer Medicaid enrollees by 2026, a reduction of about 17 percent relative to the number under current law.” It’s take-from-the-poor, give-to-the-rich economics operating under a guise of fiscal conservative cost-cutting.
And health care is really just the beginning—the budget is far worse.
Budget proposals are political statements; they’re notifications of intent often labeled as moral documents. And Trump’s budget proposal surely made a statement on his overarching morality (or lack-thereof). It seems Trump and co. believe poor people have had it too easy over the last few decades: too many handouts, too many opportunities to receive meals, experience art, have a place to live, gain employment, and receive legal representation.
The WIC program which provides baby formula, nutrition education and support for low-income mothers will be reduced by $200 million while the following programs will be eliminated entirely:
The Legal Services Corporation which provides legal aid for low-income Americans.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) which helps older low-income Americans (55+) obtain employment.
The HUD’s Block Grant Program which works to develop low-income neighborhoods and provide affordable housing. Also under the umbrella of this grant is the Meals on Wheels Program which provides meals to seniors who are unable to leave their homes.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps in-need families with utility bills and repair costs.
The Choice Neighborhoods Program which works to improve public housing and education in poor areas.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) who worked to lower nation-wide homelessness by 14% over the last six years.
$1.2 billion in after school program grants that serve 1.6 million students—the majority of whom are poor.
Americorps, the well-known community service program that has provided literacy education across the U.S., community engagement and job training, disaster relief and construction.
And just for good measure, the budget blueprint also cuts the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and it slashes climate-change programs dramatically while decreasing the EPA’s budget by a whopping 31%.
And it’s not as if they’re cutting these programs to reallocate funds to the lower and middle class, they’re cutting these programs to pay for tax cuts for the rich, a $54 million increase in military spending, a stronger deportation force and a $2.6 billion wall. Yeah, we’re paying for it, surprised?
You shouldn’t be, by any of this. Donald Trump has been a disconnected billionaire for as long as he’s been in the public eye.
In 1999, when speaking with the New York Times Trump said this:
”My entire life, I’ve watched politicians bragging about how poor they are, how they came from nothing, how poor their parents and grandparents were. And I said to myself, if they can stay so poor for so many generations, maybe this isn’t the kind of person we want to be electing to higher office. How smart can they be? They’re morons.”
Neither the health care bill nor the budget will pass in their current forms—but that’s irrelevant. These documents speak to the goals of our current president, they paint his ideal picture of America. In Trump’s distorted view, one of our major issues is that we treat our poor too kindly, and we don’t spend enough on our military.
Here’s a discretionary spending breakdown courtesy of NationalPriorities.org:
He’s just another aloof billionaire who’s allergic to empathy. Unfortunately, he’s also the president of the United States.