Trump administration officials have released an outline of their plan to take an axe to the federal budget, and they’re targeting everything – except military spending. Aiming to reduce spending by $10.5 trillion over ten years, they will accomplish this by gutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, breaking one of Donald Trump’s biggest campaign promises.
“It is my intention to leave Social Security as it is!” announced Trump in a March debate. He told the Heritage Foundation – the neoliberal far-right think tank that drafted the budget outlines used by Republicans in Congress – that “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. Every other Republican is going to cut, and even if they wouldn’t, they don’t know what to do because they don’t know where the money is. I do.”
But it appears Donald Trump, pathological liar and ideological weathervane, is backtracking on his promises yet again. The Hill reports that the budget reductions are based off a Heritage Foundation outline, and a Mother Jones analysis found that this means the Trump Administration will be cutting Medicare by 41%, Medicaid by 41%, and Social Security by 8%.
Graphic courtesy of Mother Jones.
It will also end funding for the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities, end funding for victims of domestic violence grants, privatize the Public Broadcasting Corporation, as well as significant cuts to the departments of Transportation, Justice and State.
It is “starve the beast” on a colossal scale – which somehow doesn’t include defense spending, which comprised 57% of our total 2014 budget but would see a 1% cut under the Trump plan.
If Donald Trump and his cronies get away with this, the consequences are terrifying.
Let’s consider the worst case scenario, shall we?
Half a trillion dollars a year will pour into the coffers of arms manufacturers and defense contractors; hundreds of thousands will die across the world as those weapons are used to wage wars of blood profit as thousands of Americans die from lack of healthcare. With no endowment for the arts and the humanities, artistic expression is curtailed and slowly returns to being a privilege of the wealthy.
With a defunded Planned Parenthood, the crippling of Roe V. Wade with anti-choice TRAP laws and the gutting of the public school system, birthrates across the United States skyrocket as recreational sex also becomes a privilege of the wealthiest Americans, trapping Americans in self-perpetuating poverty cycles and creating a permanently disenfranchised underclass of exploitable labor. Patriarchal misogyny is institutionalized at every level, stripping women of their agency and returning them to second-class citizens.
Independent thought and creative expression are repressed as fundamentalist Christianity becomes the educational standard in Betsy DeVos’ charter schools. The independent media is slowly replaced by official state news services and free speech is sharply curtailed as an already heavily militarized police force enforce the iron rule of the oligarchs in Washington.
Given free rein from Washington, an unchecked and unfettered fossil fuel industry pillages public nature reserves for their resources, leaving them barren as constant pollution warms the planet beyond tolerable levels. This causes volatile and unpredictable natural disasters and heavy flooding of coastal population centers. With no FEMA and no government assistance, environmental refugees flee in their millions as competition for resources fosters tribalism and the union dissolves once and for all.
Perhaps that’s a tad fatalist, but it’s looking a hell of a lot more likely this side of November. We must not underestimate the greed and the ambition of the wealthy and their Republican puppets – and this proposal from the Trump transition team is a clear sign that they are very serious about tearing our government apart piece by piece, no matter the cost to the American people.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.