On Thursday, President Trump released his proposed budget and it is eye-opening, though not entirely surprising. According to the budget, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department stand to see massive cuts, whereas the Department of Defense, the VA, and Homeland Security all will see an uptick in funding. Fortunately, Congress can choose to completely scrap the plan and enact their own budget, but if nothing else, this budget gives us a look at President Trump’s vision for the country.
That vision is one that completely trashes any work toward fighting climate change. We know that Trump has called climate change science a hoax, but the budget brings that thought to reality. The EPA would see 31 percent of their funding cut, the popular Energy Star program would be cut from the Department of Energy, the State Department would no longer support climate change programs, and NASA would no longer work on climate science.
We can also see that Trump favors brawn over brains when it comes to international relations. As expected, the State Department would lose nearly a third of their funding, while the DoD would see an almost 10 percent increase in their budget. This move is likely to draw the ire of Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis who once told members of Congress, “if you don’t fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition.” Mattis and other military leaders have long fought against cuts in diplomatic programs, as they see them as crucial to preventing conflict around the globe.
Trump’s budget also shows the types of cuts that have long been talked about by conservatives, as arts and education will be trimmed from the Federal budget. The Department of Education would lose 14 percent of their funds, while the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR, would be completely eliminated. Other agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts will also get the axe.
While Congress debates health insurance reform, the Trump budget rips into other Federal health funding. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention will lose 14 percent of their budget, but some of those funds will be allocated via block grants to the states. Meanwhile, the National Institutes for Health will see their focus move away from sharing information with other countries, while also losing key research funding.
And while Trump may have touted his plan to invest over $1 trillion into infrastructure improvements, the DOT will see 13 percent of their budget slashed. Included in those cuts are a measure to privatize air traffic control at all US airports. Flights to rural airports will also see subsidies eliminated, causing air travel expenses to rise for much of the country.
For anyone that doubted Trump’s ambitions for reforming the government and building his nationalist movement, he has finally put those plans into writing and it is every bit as terrifying as we thought. We can only hope that the Republican lead House and Senate have a better plan. Then again, they had seven years to formulate an alternative to the Affordable Care Act.