White House Budget Proposal Prioritizes Military Spending Over Social Services

The president has released his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, and it’s full of bad news if you care about the social safety net. The plan includes lavish increases on defense spending and staggering cuts to social services.

Astoundingly, even though the GOP claims to be very concerned about the deficit, this budget does nothing to address the country’s ballooning debt. If this feels like deja vu, you’d be right, because the plan has a lot in common with Trump’s first budget.

The proposal sets aside $4.4 trillion in funding for the next fiscal year. And that includes funds for Trump’s pet border wall project, as well as boosted funds for the Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security. Additionally, the budget plan provides some funding for opioids, nuclear modernization, immigration detention and more border patrol guards. It also proposes using oil and gas leasing to raise funds for infrastructure projects.

At the same time, the budget proposal would reduce funds for Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, PBS, the EPA, the National Endowment for the Arts, the State Department, programs that boost opportunities for rural America, renewable energy research, health insurance subsidies and housing subsidies. Some of these programs face extreme cuts or elimination.

Perhaps you’ve already heard about one particularly bizarre proposal: replacing some SNAP benefits with monthly boxes of nonperishable items. This move that would be costly, logistically challenging and terrible for those with special dietary needs or fans of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Work requirements for housing subsidies are also included in the budget, joining calls to impose such requirements for SNAP and Medicaid eligibility. Most people receiving assistance through these programs are working, living in households with people who work or unable to work — but mismatches between wages and costs of living make it difficult for them to afford basic needs on their own.

One of the reasons Trump’s budget can’t address the deficit issue is his massive tax cut for the rich, which slashed government revenues. It’s extremely challenging to balance a budget in the best of times — the Democrats haven’t been much better at it, historically — but radically increasing spending on costly programs while cutting revenues is a recipe for disaster.

Here’s the good news about the budget: This is just a proposal.

The president has prepared a 160-page wishlist for Congress to review as the legislature develops its own budgetary priorities and allocations. And as with last year, some of the proposed cuts will never come to pass. They may even be dead in the water, included more for symbolic value than actual hope that they’ll make it into the final document.

But, you do need to contact your elected officials with your thoughts. Tie your comments to your community and your own experience to show how the budget will affect constituents. Maybe you receive community development block grants that improve quality of life in your city or town. Perhaps you’ve benefited from programs targeting rural America, or the subsidies provided to make health insurance more affordable.

The more you personalize, the more your elected official has to work with as they consider proposals. Your voice may also be heard on the floor during debate. It’s not uncommon for people to bring stories from constituents to illustrate issues under discussion.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

52 comments

Marie W
Marie W6 days ago

Thanks

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Elaine W
Elaine W5 months ago

I do not trust tRump to not use his toys and power just to show off.

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JT S
Past Member 6 months ago

The social net, public schools, et al, could EASILY be save and strengthened by simply cutting military spending in half; and, America would STILL be outspending the next several countries combined!

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Ellie M
Ellie M6 months ago

ty

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R6 months ago

And when you or our allies get blown to smithereens?

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Jetana A
Jetana A6 months ago

The worse things get for the people, seems like someone like Bernie ought to have a chance next election.

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Mary B
Mary B6 months ago

There is more than one kind of economics, more than one theory about how the world money supply works, but here, we have the same people looking at the past and thinking it's the future, making the same arguments over and over again. I give up. The other theories are way more interesting and make sense and actually care about the Earth it's creatures and the humans .

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Aries N
Aries N6 months ago

Military is never an option for "better peace", it's not even the priority to make a maker nation. That Umbridge in a wig that calls ITSELF President should step down immediately! There are more important matters in the world like poverty, animal and human rights. this society needs a lot of help, and no way in hell are they taking orders from that thing called Trump

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E6 months ago

brian f
Defend who you want brian because it is obvious you are on both sides of that fence.
As usual, you always forget I'm Canadian. You on the other hand will support those who agree with you because you don't own a "pair"

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson6 months ago

If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, Militarism, and the warfare state with its suppression of civil liberties, Imperial presidency, government propaganda, and interventionist foreign policy, it is the Bible Banging Republican Christians, and especially Conservative Evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and the Prince of Peace! What a Cacophony of Crap that is! There isn't a group of people who love War, torture and the military more than the Religious Reich. People who claim they have absolute "Faith" in their Gods protection, but somehow have to back him up with the biggest, most expensive Military in the whole World.

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