Impact Work

The Poor, Climate, and Your Grandma Are Screwed Under Trump’s Budget

Pretty much anyone not in the one percent should be freaked out.
May 29, 2017, 2:30pm
Photo via Public Domain

The numbers are in, and if you're not in the 1% or running a major corporation,things are looking bleak under the Trump Administration's first proposed budget. While the its total price tag of $4.094 trillion is close to the 2016 total budget proposed under President Obama, plans for specific budget allocations paint an extremely different picture for the year ahead.
Titled, "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," the proposed budget takes an axe to many of the major programs despised by the president since his early campaign days, with hard cuts to social services, arts, and scientific research departments. Some of these cuts have even been accused of violating President Trump's hilariously empty election contract, including drastically slashing Medicaid and social security. Contrast that with the Department of Defense and all set to see 10.1 percent hike respectively.

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here are some of the people who will feel the worst effects of the proposed 2018 budget should it go through.

Scientists, Researchers, and Conservation Efforts

The proposed budget shows big cuts across conservation, research, and scientific development. Highlights (or, um, lowlights )include a 31.4 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and a roughly 18 percent cut to the National Institute for Health. The budget also calls for a $333 million cut to the Center for Disease Control programs fighting infectious diseases, and an $841 million cut to the National Science foundation. Say goodbye to the environment and your health.

The proposed cuts have triggered an outcry from the science community as government employees see those kinds of numbers and worry about whether they'll have a jobs in the future or not. In an unprecedented show of dissent, dozens of EPA employees marched through the streets of Boston early this week, calling for a reversal of cuts to long-standing environmental programs.

Undocumented Immigrants

With a $2.8 billion boost to border security and immigration enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security, Trump 's budget sent a message that he's going to continues his anti-immigration policies at full force. But equally regressive policies sit deeper in the budget, including legislation that could keep undocumented immigrants from claiming tax returns. These policies largely hinge on the presentation of a valid social security law in order to claim child tax credit and income tax credit.

And in a potential blow to sanctuary cities, a portion of the budget allocated under the Department of Justice also seeks to force municipalities receiving federal law enforcement grants to comply with detainment requests from the Department of Homeland Security, regardless of sanctuary status.

Low Income Families

Where to begin. The 2018 budget proposes a decade-long, $193 billion cut to the food stamp program known as SNAP. That's a quarter of the program's budget. WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children food stamp program would also lose more than one billion dollars. The new budget also proposes a cap on food stamp funding for families larger than six, despite of the number of people in the household. This could leave families, regardless of size, capping out at a maximum benefit of $925.

The budget also cracks down hard on low-income housing support, including a 15 percent cut to housing and community development assistance, and the complete removal of the Community Development Block Grant program. Serious rental assistance program reform could also be on the way, including increasing rent contributions from tenants by five percent in exchange for a $2 billion budget brake.

Students at All Levels

It seems the government aren't fans of public education. There's a more than 13 percent budget decrease to the department of education, impacting everything from public school facilities to after school programs. Meanwhile, school choice options including charter schools and school vouchers see a significant increase in funding. Cuts may be seen by programs including Title I services for low-income students, career and technical education, and work-study programs.

College and university students may also face serious financial hardship if the proposed budget goes ahead. Elimination of the public-service loan-forgiveness program and subsidized Stafford loans, and an almost halving of the federal work-study program are currently up for discussion.

Humanities and Humanitarians

Say goodbye entirely to the National Endowment for the Arts, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and National Endowment for the Humanities under the proposed budget. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which brings the likes to PBS and NPR is also poised to lose funding. Sorry Big Bird.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and U.S. Institute for Peace would be reduced to close-out costs under the proposed budget, while halving U.N. peacekeeping support. International aid would also see a serious blow, with HIV/AIDS-fighting programs in the developing world seeing a 17 percent cut, and programs working to combat malaria dropping by 11 percent.

In deference of cuts to international aid programs, President Trump's budget chief Mick Mulvaney said, "We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but the number of people we help get off of those programs."

While many aspects of President Trump's first proposed budget seem concerning, chances of it moving forward as written are slim. Presidential budget proposals rarely move forward in their original form, and bipartisan concern over proposed funding positions are likely to make the budget an especially hard sell.

At the end of the day, Trump's budget is just a suggested starting point for the real financial planners: your Congressional representatives. Congress usually starts with the previous year's budget and adds and subtracts from that base, and while many Democrats and Republicans have openly predicted Trump's budget to be dead-upon-arrival on the Congressional floor, aspects of President Trump's budget may be considered as budget discussions move forward.

To voice your views on President Trump's proposed budget, contact your representatives by phone or email. Organizations like the National Priorities Project and Call Your Rep make it easy to find contact information and provide talking points and tips to help you make your voice heard.