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Trump’s Budget Plan a Disaster for Working People, Poor

by Clyde Weiss  |  March 16, 2017

Trump’s Budget Plan a Disaster for Working People, Poor

We knew it wouldn’t be good news for most Americans, but President Trump’s budget blueprint “is even worse than we could have imagined,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “This budget cuts nearly everything that matters to working families.”

It was always clear to us that Trump would favor his rich friends and corporations over working class Americans. But we’re surprised how quickly and audaciously Trump abandoned his campaign oft-repeated pledges to improve the lives of hard-working people that formed the core of his support during the election.

This budget plan abandons those middle class moms and pops, and their children. It will make it even harder for them to get ahead as it threatens to hollow out the very agencies, departments and programs that do, in fact, help the poor and middle class.

Here are just a few examples that should give you an idea what President Trump considers his real priorities. The key winners under Trump’s plan are:

  • Defense contractors. Spending on the military would increase in 2018 by more than $52 billion, to $574 billion. That’s a 10 percent hike.
  • Homeland security. Spending here, including for the border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for, would increase by nearly $3 billion, to $44 billion – a jump of 7 percent.

Here are just some of the losers, if this plan is adopted by Congress:

  • Poor people who depend on community services programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which “helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs,” says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. HHS would take a hit of nearly $13 billion next fiscal year, a 16 percent decline.
  • People who depend on cures being researched through programs funded by the National Institutes of Health, which would be axed by nearly $6 billion – about 20 percent.
  • Elderly and impoverished people who now benefit from such critical anti-poverty initiatives as Meals on Wheels, housing assistance programs and Community Development Block Grants run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which would take a $4.3 billion hit – a 12 percent cut – in 2018.

In his address to Congress on Feb. 28, Trump declared, “Above all else, we will keep our promises to the American people.” How quickly he’s forgotten his promises to all but the wealthy, corporations and extremists who want to decimate public services.

"Once again, President Trump's actions aren’t living up to the populist rhetoric of his campaign,” said President Saunders in a statement. “He is breaking promises to the struggling families who feel left behind in today's economy. This budget does not just neglect these families and communities; it goes out of its way to hurt them.”

Saunders added, “Combined with the proposed changes to Medicaid contained in the health care plan the president has endorsed, this budget will prove devastating to state budgets and the vital public services our communities depend on.”

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