Trump Budget: Making the Rich Richer

The media focus on Trump rarely discusses the actual policies of his administration. We hear about every new tweet from Trump, most recently his claim that Obama wiretapped him. And if it’s not a new Trump tweet, it’s a stream of accusations about ties between the Trump administration and Russia, constantly implying that the Democrats lost the election only because of Russian interference. None of these are ever backed up with any evidence but they all serve as distractions from a discussion of the real agenda of the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been busy showing what their “America First” agenda really means. The only America that comes first in all of this is the America of the super rich – not the vast majority of working people who are the ones forced to pay for this agenda. All of the promises made to working people about good jobs and good health care and a brighter future are all gone, replaced with massive increases in military spending along with a slew of tax cuts for the banks, corporations and the super rich.

This agenda was revealed in the recent failed attempt by the Trump administration to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. That proposal would have resulted in 24 million Americans losing their health insurance over the next ten years while continuing to increase the health care costs of those who have insurance. The plan would have cut Medicaid by about 25 percent over ten years, a total of $880 billion. Those cuts would have meant $700 billion in tax cuts to the super rich over ten years. What’s worse, the conservatives refused to vote for it only because it didn’t cut enough from health care.

At the same time, the Trump administration’s latest budget includes a $54 billion increase in military spending, most of which is a handout to military companies to build new ships, fighter jets, and weapons, including nuclear weapons. Included in this increase is about $4 billion to extend the wall along the US–Mexico border, and increase the number of agents in the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Border Patrol. The message of this administration is clear. It is preparing us for an intensification of wars abroad along with increased repression and attacks at home.

The administration is pushing to cut the corporate tax rate by over 50 percent. Currently the official corporate tax rate is 35 percent. Trump is proposing to cut it to 15 percent – even though many corporations avoid paying any tax at all.

And where is the money supposed come from to pay for the tax cuts to the rich and the increased military spending? Where else but through attacks on programs and agencies that provide support to working people, including our health care, education, transportation, housing, and food assistance. One of the biggest cuts is to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), cutting 3,200 jobs, 50 programs and half of its budget for research and the enforcement of regulations that are supposed to set basic environmental and safety standards for corporations.

The Trump administration couldn’t make it any clearer which side they are on. Their “America First” is nothing more than handouts to the one percent paid for by attacks on everybody else. We shouldn’t hold onto false hopes that the Democrats can or will defend us. Some Democrats might put up resistance to these cuts during the budget debates, but ultimately they will put the interests of banks and corporations first.

The only people we can count on to fight against these policies are the very people who will suffer from them – and that is ourselves. It is our health, our education, our jobs, our livelihood, and our future that is being threatened. And in order to resist their agenda, we have to come together and begin to organize our own forces.