Home > Uncategorized > The GOP’s Budget + President Trump’s Executive Orders on Obamacare = Disaster for Those in Poverty

The GOP’s Budget + President Trump’s Executive Orders on Obamacare = Disaster for Those in Poverty

I just finished reading Katrina vanden Heuval’s op ed piece on the GOP budget from the October 17 Washington Post and I am dismayed and outraged. The combination of tax breaks for the top 1%, which will yield “…more than half of the tax cuts next year and an obscene 80 percent by year 10” and budget cuts that will gut the safety net when combined with President Trump’s cuts to what’s left of “Obamacare” will devastate those in poverty in this country and widen the economic divide.

Ms. vanden Heuval opens her column outlining the tax breaks, but then flags the appalling cuts which she asserts have been largely overlooked in the coverage on the “tax reform”:

The spending side has received less attention but may be even worse. The Senate bill proposes $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At a time when baby boomers are retiring, it calls for cuts of $473 billion in Medicare, $1 trillion in Medicaid and another $300 billion in Obamacare subsidies to medium- and low-income workers. It cuts more than $650 billion in income security programs for low-income workers — primarily food stamps, the earned-income tax credit and child tax credit, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled seniors and others in need. Another $200 billion is cut from Pell grants and student loans that help working families afford college. These decreases will leave millions without affordable health care and make millions of disabled and low-income Americans even more vulnerable.

The budget also projects stunning reductions in what is called non-defense discretionary spending, essentially everything the government does outside of the military, entitlements and interest payments on the national debt. These include programs that contribute to our safety — such as law enforcement, the Coast Guard, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration — as well as services vital to our health — such as environmental protection, water and sewage systems. It also includes public investment vital to our economy and our future — in science and technology, medical research, modern infrastructure, education, advanced training and more…

As a share of the economy, spending on domestic services will be cut to levels not seen since Herbert Hoover.

These cuts are consistent with the overarching message of the GOP: if you get in trouble, it’s your fault, and you’re on your own…. because as the GOP has insisted for decades: government is NOT the solution, it is the problem. How can the GOP do this in the face of the need for more government services, better education, greater regulation, and crumbling infrastructure? Here’s Ms. vandal Heuval’s assessment of their thinking:

Part may be desperation — Republicans believe they have to get something done, even if it does more harm than good to most Americans in the long run. If Trump’s increasingly manic careening terrifies, the remorseless suicide mission of the Republican caucus in Congress should horrify.

But there is another factor at play: the American public’s belief that the poor and infirm are somehow responsible for their lot in life and do not deserve help— especially help in the form of subsidies that need to be funded by their hard earned wages. Two recent posts on the “othering” of the poor and the “screw ’em” economy explain the roots of this apparent cold-heartedness. The only possible benefit that might result from this “remorseless suicide mission” is a public awakening to the services government needs to provide to those who are experiencing employment and health crises. Such an awakening might help voters appreciate that government IS the solution in some cases: it is the only thing preventing most Americans from falling into bankruptcy when serious illness strikes or when their jobs disappear overseas in order to reward shareholders.

 

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