Saturday, Mar 18, 2017
Last week, United States President Donald Trump issued his proposed federal budget for 2018, titled “America First — A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” It might as well be labelled: “A Document to make the US a global police force again, while criminalising poverty at home.” The 62-page document is the greatest example so far of Trump’s lack of compassion.
The budget starts with the ludicrous, politicised lie that former US-president Barack Obama has slashed military spending, reducing US forces to dangerous levels. Obama oversaw larger military budgets than former president George W. Bush in all but two years of his presidency, but in the post-fact presidency of Trump, that doesn’t matter. The only thing that does is Trump finding a way to justify the largest budget-cuts since the Second World War, as well as building his “wall” between Mexico and the US. Trump’s $54 billion (Dh198.61 billion) increase in military spending looks to be how he will justify these cuts.
This gutting of the America government is a long stated goal of many of the US’s conservatives, but the impact of such cuts on the poor and needy have stopped previous politicians from making such draconian measures. Trump, obviously, lacks their empathy. His budget repeatedly attacks those unfortunate, both in the US and outside its borders. The Health and Human Services proposed budget, which provides services such as free meals for seniors, as well as countless other services aimed at community health, would be cut by $15.9 billion, or 17.9 per cent. The Department of Housing and Urban development, which promotes decent, safe and affordable housing would be cut by $6.2 billion or 13.2 per cent.
The Department of State, which includes the US Agency for International Development Foreign Aid, which is supposed to help National Security, would be cut by $10.6 billion, or 28 per cent.
This list goes on and on, repeatedly finding ways of taking money out of the hands of the poor and elderly. A final, ironic insult is hidden under the proposed budget for the Department of Justice. Trump is asking that the fees for filing of bankruptcy by increased by $150 million “to ensure that those that use the bankruptcy court system pay for its oversight.” In other words, if Trump’s budget finally pushes poor American’s over the brink, they’ll have to pay for that too.
One can only hope that Congress can find a way — or at least the compassion— to say no to Trump’s absurd and inhuman budget blueprint.
Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.