President Donald Trump introduced his budget for the upcoming fiscal year today, and it’s a doozy.
According to the Washington Post, the budget focuses heavily on slashing domestic programs like Medicare and Medicaid while threatening another government shutdown and calling for major funding for the border wall. To be clear, there is no chance whatsoever this budget ends up passing in full, but because it seems important to know what an administration’s stated goals are, let’s dive into the big, beautiful, fully-functioning brain of the commander-in-chief.
Should this budget’s healthcare plan somehow pass, it would bleed Americans dry. Trump wants to cut Medicare funding by $845 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) and slash Medicaid funding by another $241 billion, per the Post.
Given that conservative state legislatures are already doing all they can to gut Medicaid—be it by instituting unpopular work requirements or just outright rejecting federal funds to expand coverage—the work in the 2020 budget largely holds with the screeches Republicans at the federal level have been making about “socialized medicine” for the past, oh, four decades or so. Additionally, Trump’s budget calls for major cuts in staff and funding to the EPA, the State Department, the Transportation Department, and the Interior.
The big spending increase comes yet again in the form of military funding, to the tune of $750 billion. It’s shocking, I know, but that would be a five percent increase over last year’s military budget, according to the Post. The plan also includes Trump’s demand for wall-building funds, currently pegged in the budget at $8.6 billion. Compared to the proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, $8.6 billion is chump change (a truly insane thing to type, I know), but it’s the threat of what accompanies that wall funding that makes even more noteworthy. As the Post reports, the wall funding would be tied to veiled threats from the Trump Administration of another government shutdown in October should that money not be approved for allocation by Democrats. So, uh, be on the lookout for that!
Now, any time budgets are released, be it on national or state-wide scale, it’s extremely easy for either side to point at big numbers, make a series of unintelligible grunts and squawks, and start handing out torches and pitchforks. So, to side-step the bullshit, let’s be clear: Trump’s budget does not save the American people money.
For any PAYGO-humping deficit hawks that read this blog—hello, you strange, lost weirdos—you’ll be disappointed to know that under Trump’s plan the deficit would remain steady under the proposal. The deficit is marked to grow at $1.1 trillion per year through 2021, and then $1 trillion in 2022, making for a four-year total of $4.3 trillion. As has been pointed out before, talking about the national deficit in reasonable terms (like stating outright that it should not be compared to personal debt and weaponized as an austerity argument against social programs, as it was in the wake of the recent financial crisis) is nearly impossible.
Simply put, in admitting that the U.S. does not need to spend less to operate its federal government—and given the healthy interest rate on our 10-year treasury bonds—is some kind of a glimmer of hope. It’s yet another conservative concession that the money needed to actually bridge the gap and provide programs and tax-funded social services that American citizens deserve is there.
The money is there, it’s just being spent on the absolute dumbest shit possible. But it’s there.