On Tuesday, Donald Trump’s $4.1 trillion budget proposal will be officially introduced, but we already know some of its more grisly details. Our orb-fondling, foot-swallowing POTUS imagines a vastly restructured government without the Affordable Care Act, reshaped by tremendous lacerations to Medicaid, food stamp, and student loan programs.
But as the Associated Press reports, a politically dangerous budget proposal like this one won’t travel far in Congress, even one dominated by the GOP.
“I just think it’s the prerogative of Congress to make those decisions in consultation with the President,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told the AP. Cornyn does not expect Medicaid cuts to pass in the Senate. “But almost every president’s budget proposal that I know of is basically dead on arrival.”
Under this plan, benefit programs and domestic agencies suffer a collective $3.6 trillion in cuts over the next decade:
- It operates on the assumption that the Affordable Care Act will be repealed and replaced.
- It significantly reduces Medicaid—$600 billion in cuts over 10 years.
- It discontinues student loan subsidies.
- It harpoons the food stamp program—$191 billion in cuts over 10 years.
- It decreases states’ highway funds by $95 million
Federal pensions for government workers would also be decreased, not to mention tax credits provided to lower income individuals. Medical research will also suffer financially, as well as our foreign aid programs.
We can attribute many of these features to the small-government ideology of budget director Mick Mulvaney. Trump purportedly has not evinced much interest in the matter—and, after all, he will be overseas when the proposal is officially released.
“We need people to go to work,” Mulvaney told reporters. “If you are on food stamps, we need you to go to work. If you are on disability and you should not be, we need you to go back to work.”
While this proposal may not succeed, Trump’s presidency has taught us not to rule out anything. And the proposed cuts dreamed up by Mulvaney indicate his desire—one likely shared by many—to mangle the social benefit programs crucial to so many. We can expect multiple attempts to cut corners at the cost of our most vulnerable. Trump’s apathy is equally dangerous: he’ll likely sign anything.
But then, who would benefit from this budget proposal? The military would be provided with a 10 percent increase in funding, and both law enforcement and border patrol would profit too. Quelle surprise.