The budget released by the Trump administration Monday morning featured deep cuts to social safety net programs. The President’s proposed budget strips $1.7 trillion from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and SNAP (Food Stamps), which support elderly and vulnerable Americans. And that $1.7 trillion in cuts is noticeably close to the $1.5 trillion in lost revenue that experts estimate will result from the corporate tax rate decrease signed into law by Trump two months ago.
It appears that the President plans to pay for his tax bill by cutting essential support for the poorest Americans.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer drew the connection between the GOP tax plan and Trump’s budget with a disapproving tweet on Monday afternoon:
If Americans want a picture of who President Trump works for, the combination of the #GOPTaxScam & this #TrumpBudget make it crystal clear. He’s for the rich & powerful at the expense of the middle class.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 12, 2018
The decision to slash safety net programs actually represents a total reversal of position for Trump. As a candidate, he vowed not to touch Medicare and Medicaid:
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2015
Evidently, Paul Ryan has succeeded in his attempt to change Trump’s mind. Ryan has long sought to cut so-called entitlement programs and has supposedly been working to convince Trump of the merits of his Ayn Randian vision in private conversations.
And it’s not just what Trump’s budget fails to fund, but what it chooses to fund, that is causing outrage. The plan allocates massive spending ($716 billion) for what it describes as a “lethal, resilient, and agile” military, and also includes funds for a border wall.
With his budget choices, Trump makes plain his penchant for destruction. He aims to cut programs that are known to help the neediest Americans while increasing funds for programs that divide and kill.