President Trump must accept some responsibility for the popularity of all the pseudo-psychological analyses of his behavior. People are grasping for explanations for the inexplicable, like the cruel federal budget he proposes that would stab in the back many of the very people he owes for his election.
The administration contends even safety-net spending that protects rural Americans and blue-collar workers must be sacrificed on the altar of deficit reduction. But fiscal watchdog groups dedicated to that goal say Trump’s murky budget is a charade that would make little progress in that direction.
The budget kills the Appalachian Regional Commission and Delta Regional Commission, whose infrastructure projects have long created jobs. Funding for the Rural Housing Insurance Fund, which provides mortgages to rural homebuyers, would drop from $3.7 billion to $250 million. The Rural Utilities Service, which keeps phones, power, and the internet working in rural areas, would lose $2 billion.
The budget would rip into shards protection for children, seniors, sick people, and the jobless in rural and urban areas. Medicaid, which Trump promised not to touch while campaigning, would lose $800 billion over 10 years. Another $193 billion would be cut from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which feeds more than 40 million low-income Americans.
In defense of the spending plan, White House budget director Dick Mulvaney said anti-poverty programs spend other people’s money, and that Washington should also “have compassion for folks who are paying it.”
Mulvaney’s blanket characterization of Americans receiving government assistance as undeserving leeches brings to mind Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson’s recent assertion that poverty is a “state of mind” anyone can overcome.
Funny they don’t express that same attitude toward big businesses that receive corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks and other measures. The philosophy that such policies lead to job creation has too often been proved wrong as companies pocket the revenue they save even as they lay off American workers and move jobs overseas.
Trump’s budget is bad, but not just because it slaps the most vulnerable; it’s bad because it doesn’t add up. It doesn’t account for the loss of revenue resulting from the tax cuts Trump proposes, including the loss of $300 billion if the president fulfills a campaign promise to kill the estate tax. In fact, Trump’s disingenuous budget includes an increase in estate tax revenue.
The Concord Coalition said Trump’s budget “relies on improbable assertions of higher economic growth and unrealistic assumptions about future spending cuts.” The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the president was “relying on phony growth and unachievable cuts” while ignoring the “rising costs of Social Security and Medicare.”
His proposed budget isn’t the only area where Trump ignores reality. His support for the House-passed replacement to Obamacare is unbelievable given the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office assessment that 23 million more Americans won’t have health insurance as a result. That’s crazy enough to make you wonder about the president’s sanity.