March 16, 2017 – Donald Trump ran for president as a man of the people, who was going to fight for those who were left behind – but everything we’re hearing about his forthcoming federal budget says exactly the opposite: Spending that’s a great deal for big corporations that have hired armies of lobbyists, and great for the wealthiest few like himself. But leaving everyone else a lot worse off.
Here are four important early warning flares:
1. Trump’s budget will increase military spending by 10 percent (even though U.S. military expenditures already exceed the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined). And that’s frankly scary for a lot of reasons from what it signals about his foreign policy priorities to the impact of that whopping spending hike like this on other parts of the budget.
2. Trump actually plans to cut corporate taxes (even though U.S corporate profits after are higher as a percentage of the economy than they’ve been since 1947).
3. He’s going to pay for this – in part – by cutting billions of dollars from the Environmental Protection Agency (which would strip the EPA of almost all its capacity to enforce environmental laws and regulations, at a time when climate change threatens the future of the planet). This is precisely the opposite of what the United States ought to be doing.
4. Last – but by no means least – huge leaps in military spending plus tax cuts will also mean big cuts to programs like food stamps and Medicaid (at a time when the U.S. has the highest poverty rate among all advanced nations, including more than 1 in 5 American children).
This is only the first step in the budget process, but with Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate these priorities have a good chance of being enacted, which is why we have to raise our voices – and push back – now.
Republicans in Congress are likely still recovering from the last recess – dubbed appropriately “Resistance Recess.” We need to take that winning spirit of resistance into the budget fight – and the time to start is right now.
So, let your members of Congress know that Trump’s budget is not your budget. Trump’s spending and tax priorities are not in the best interest of most Americans. And then let’s get to work to make sure we get a Congress in 2018 that reflects YOUR priorities.
ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.