“SHOW me your budget and spending and I will tell you your values.” Sounds familiar? Life coaches say it, financial analysts say it, our parents say it, politicians say it. Indeed, with limited resources, where we put our money mostly reveals what matters more to us, what our priorities are. This is true among us people. This is true in government.
In the United States, the president submits a budget proposal for the next fiscal year and submits it to Congress, the co-equal branch of government accorded the “power of the purse” by the Constitution.
For Fiscal Year 2020, President Donald Trump has pretty much revealed what matters most to him, where he thinks our hard earned taxpayers money should go, and which ones are least important.
Sorry, folks. If Trump will have his way, the people, especially ordinary hardworking Americans who are deprived by this broken economic system of a decent living wage to favor the richest people and corporations, will lose much of what matters to us in terms of the safety nets we rely on during challenging economic times, during sickness, and the means by which we and our children can have the fair share of getting ahead and pulling ourselves out of poverty.
On Monday, March 11, Trump submitted his “Budget for a Better America” proposal to Congress, asking for a record-breaking $4.75 trillion for the upcoming fiscal year.
Fortune summarizes budget increases, budget cuts, and what will happen to the goal of paying for the expenses in the proposed budget of President Trump for the Fiscal Year 2020.
The president requested $750 billion for FY2020, a nearly 5% increase in this area, which exceeds what the Pentagon had asked for. Trump also prioritizes asking for more money for his controversial border wall, almost $9-Billion despite its lack of support from the American people, and despite Congress already earlier denying his demand for $5.7 billion for the wall.
Beyond military and security spending,Fortune reported that Trump included in the budget funding for efforts to combat the opioid crisis, a 10% increase in health care spending for veterans, $200 billion in infrastructure spending, spending to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, and increased resources for school choice, including federal tax credits.
According to the Fortune report, Trump proposes a 5% cut at non-defense federal agencies, including a total of $1.9 trillion in cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid. Trump also proposed new work requirements for Medicaid recipients and turning more power over to states. On Medicare, Trump called for an $845 billion budget cut.
Trump’s proposes a 10% decrease in funding for the Department of Education, totaling $62 billion or $7.1 billion less than the department’s allotted funds for 2019.
Cuts and other revisions in the federal student loan program are woven into this budget cut for education.
Fortune quoted James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, who said the budget blueprint, subject to congressional changes, would “raise costs and increase student debt,” making borrowers pay $207 billion more on their student loans, which he calls a “dangerously wrong-headed proposal.”
Other agencies that would see budget cuts include the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Transportation Department, and the Department of the Interior, affecting matters such as foreign aid, federal employee retirement programs, and clean energy.
One of the campaign promises Trump made in 2016 was that as president, the United States will pay off the national debt in eight years and earlier suggested that a balanced budget would be a reality in 10 years. But according to Fortune, “ the budget forecasts trillion-dollar deficits through 2022. These deficits build on the already $22 trillion of national debt.”
How did we get here? Is America really well off under Trump as he promised? Are the lives of hardworking Americans better under his presidency? What do you experience in your own life?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos