Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Austerity Hysteria, 2019 Edition

Donald Trump's budget proposal was far, far worse than even I imagined even after it became clear that the GOP tax scam was going to rocket up deficits in order to give the super rich massive tax cuts.  Now the other half of the shoe is dropping, with Trump proposing hundreds of billions in new military spending, draconian cuts across the board elsewhere and taking an atomic chainsaw to Social Security and Medicare.

President Trump proposed a $4.7 trillion budget plan Monday that stands as a sharp challenge to Congress and the Democrats trying to unseat him, the first act in a multi-front struggle over the role of government that threatens to consume Washington for the next 18 months.

The budget proposal dramatically raises the possibility of another government shutdown in October, with the inclusion of an additional $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border. Trump’s ask for yet more wall money — beyond the spending he is already seeking under a “national emergency” declaration at the border — infuriated Democrats.

The budget also calls for a significant increase in military spending, causing problems with some Republicans who are uneasy about how it is allocated. If lawmakers and Trump don’t reach a spending agreement by the end of September, many government operations will grind to a halt.

Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump calls for a series of changes that would reduce total spending on the program by roughly $845 billion over 10 years for Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.

His budget would also propose a major overhaul of Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans run jointly with states, by turning more power over to states. This would cut spending by $241 billion over 10 years.

Other agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Transportation Department, Education Department and Interior Department, would see their budgets severely reduced. The Commerce Department budget would increase in preparation for the 2020 Census — but Democrats said the Census money was insufficient.

“President Trump has somehow managed to produce a budget request even more untethered from reality than his past two,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.). “With such misguided priorities, the Trump budget has no chance of garnering the necessary bipartisan support to become law.”

Trump’s GOP allies received the budget plan with a lukewarm embrace.

“The president’s annual budget proposal is the first step in the federal budget process and will allow us to consider how his priorities align with the priorities of Congress,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the president to curb federal overspending and help bring our deficits and debt under control."

Republicans are probably close to panicking at this point.  Having to sign on to a trillion dollars in Medicare and Medicaid cuts will get them flayed alive by voters in 2020 and they know it.  And the best part is Trump is freely admitting that we're looking at trillion-dollar yearly deficits as far as the eye can see...even with the massive cuts.

You couldn't ask for a more visible contrast with what the Democratic party is offering compared to Trump and the GOP.

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