Donald Trump’s budget losers

The US military, veterans, a border wall, and space exploration all stand to gain from 10-year budget – but plenty to lose out as well.

Trump holds a rally in Melbourne, Florida
President Trump's budget plan for the next decade fails to include many important programmes [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

While US President Donald Trump was on tour in the Middle East and Europe this week, the White House released its wish list for the federal budget for the next 10 years.

Keep in mind, the budget request is just that: a request. The US Congress must unanimously approve it first and many lawmakers on both sides have criticized the plan. But the budget does put this president’s “America First” priorities on display.

There’s plenty of money for the US military, veterans, a border wall and space exploration. But there are plenty of losers on his wish list, too. Here are some of them:

POOR PEOPLE: If you fall into the lowest 10 percent of the income bracket, this budget is tough on you. Over the next 10 years, the president wants to cut more than $610bn from Medicaid, a programme that helps low-income Americans pay for medical expenses. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), which is a food subsidy, will be re-tooled or, in administration speak, “reformed” over the next two years and cut by roughly $7.6bn. The proposal also includes the reduction in funding for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), a programme that helps poor families find work. 

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STARVING PEOPLE: If you live in South Sudan, Yemen, or Somalia and are now among the estimated 20 million people who are starving this budget won’t help you, either. The president wants to cut the USAID budget by 30 percent. USAID is the primary distributor of food and other aid to regions of the world hardest hit by war, famine and disaster. White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has made it clear that this is an “America First” budget and that’s why the cuts are needed. There’s been bipartisan opposition to the foreign aid cuts. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said publicly every dollar cut from foreign assistance puts American lives at risk, because poverty and starvation breed “terrorists”.

DISABLED PEOPLE: Over the next two years, the Trump administration wants to cut $2bn dollars from disability programmes and a total of $72bn over the next 10 years. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports 44 percent of children with disabilities need the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a programme that would also see a cut of $5.8bn over the next 10 years.  

YOUNG PEOPLE: The most vulnerable people hit in this budget are children. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid and CHIP alone cover 40 percent of all American children. They argue although the federal budget proposal shifts the burden on states to manage many of these subsidies, they are simply not set up to do so. “In response to these reductions, states will likely need to make programme cutbacks, including reductions in eligibility and benefits,” they report. Moreover, funding for kids who want to go to college but can’t afford it will also be dealt a blow. Subsidized student loans would be eliminated, starting in 2018. The Department of Education will see its budget cut 13.5 percent in 2018. 

GREEN PEOPLE: If you think the government needs to hold corporations accountable for bad environmental practices, this budget is a disaster. The Trump administration wants to cut $2.5bn from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – nearly one-third of its budget. EPA monitors and penalizes companies that don’t follow the rules. Republicans have condemned the agency for years as a bloated bureaucracy that enforces unnecessary laws and gets in the way of job creation.

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Source: Al Jazeera