As Donald Trump gets down to the pointy end of governing, the White House will today reveal his “skinny budget”, described as more a policy direction than a fiscal statement.
Reportedly, he intends to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion, its lowest level in 40 years, adjusted for inflation.
The blueprint will cut State Department spending by a similar amount, 28-31%. The cuts include drastic reductions in the 60-year-old State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters, and the elimination of the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights to rural airports, although the White House instructed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to leave untouched the $3 billion annual foreign aid payment to Israel.
In addition to the cuts at the E.P.A. and the State Department, Mr. Trump’s team is expected to propose a wide array of cuts to public education, to transportation programs like Amtrak and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including the complete elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.
Federally funded arts programs are on the chopping block. Trump’s budget is also expected to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports PBS, NPR, and other public TV and radio outlets. Its annual budget stands at less than $500 million.
Meanwhile, in his first month in office, Trump wasted $15 million of tax payers’ money playing golf at his resort in Mar-a-lago.
The president would funnel $54 billion in additional funding into defense programs, beef up immigration enforcement and significantly reduce the nondefense federal work force to further the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” in the words of Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.
A broader budget will be released later in the spring that will include Mr. Trump’s proposals for taxation as well as the bulk of government spending — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.
One can only imagine the joys that will confront Trump’s ‘common man’ supporters then. Trump’s own words, “Who knew healthcare was so complicated,” don’t instil a great deal of confidence
As with here, there is no money for health, education, community support programs, the environment and action on climate change, or the arts, but we have endless funds for ‘national security’.
With promised tax cuts in the mix, it will be very interesting to see how Trump’s band of amateurs make the figures stack up presuming they ever do produce a real budget. It ain’t gonna be pretty.
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