By: Sofia Sepulveda
President Trump’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2019 was delivered to the BCO on February 12. People are not as outraged as with the DACA protections, nor as upset as with the FEC rules regarding Net Neutrality. But we should.
The budget plan is nothing more than a massive gift to the one percenters. Despite the false information spread out by PR firms and being plastered all over CNN and Fox News that the new Tax Cuts is really going have an effect and money is going to “trickle down” to the working poor, we all know this is not the case. The tax plan increased the deficit and more likely will put us in debt.
Cuts, cuts, and more cuts.
That is what the budget plan is all about. Making sure that what little protections the working class have left, are being stripped by our new commander in chief.
The budget plan is set to curtail income-based loan repayment plans, which will embolden the government to go after students who do not pay their debt. Graduate students are set to pay more as well. This is a bad solution to the already indebted millennials. The administration is hoping to also cut more than 3 billion from the Education Department while investing money to support private school vouchers.
The white house is seeking slashing the labor department funding by 10%. These cuts will come from the National Dislocated Workers Grants which supports folks whose jobs were lost due to a natural disaster.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will also experience cuts, and what did we expect from a President who does not believe in climate change and recently opened up a huge percentage of our National Parks to make it easier for big oil to begin fracking.
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are also in the chopping line. Despite his campaign promises that he will not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and the steadily increase in favorability for a Medicare for All system, Trump seems to not really care and it is ready to make major cuts on these programs.
Medicaid will be cut by $1.1 trillion as well as promoting Work requirements in order to qualify, nevermind most Medicaid eligible people are either already working, or have some type of disability that prevents them from working, which makes this requirement more horrifying. Anti-Poverty and Health-Care activists say wavers are not only cruel but irrational. Tying jobs to healthcare are more punitive, and will not improve their health conditions, but in fact, may cause more damage.
Medicare is set to be cut by $266 billion. It is stated on the budget plan that “Medicare is wasteful federal spending”. Perhaps if we ask people who currently qualify or are under the Medicare system (mostly folks 65 year or older) how “wasteful” it is to provide them with a system that ensures they have access to a doctor and do not waste their savings on health care cost (we know the number 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy is due to medical bills). It is harrowing to know how this administration is putting more pressure in our elderly population when they have actually already paid dues (and invested) into the Medicare system, by pretty much leaving them in the dust and to fend for themselves.
Social Security cut by $72 billion. These cuts are set to affect the Social Security Disability Insurance (Cuts on Money and Work requirements will put these folks into further poverty), and Supplemental Security Income.
We need to start seeing these budget and tax discussions as a sexy topic. We need to know about the cuts, the increase in expenses (and where) and why it matters (or should) to all of us who will be affected by these cuts. Being engaged or “woke” is not all about social issues – though it is an important part of the fight – it should also be about budget issues.
We cannot come out in support of women’s rights, or gay rights, or immigrant rights, or Black rights (albeit we have to) without understanding that those rights encompass wages, healthcare, and protections for when we get older.
People understand women’s rights as the rights for a woman to choose, or Gay Rights as only protection for gay marriage or discriminatory laws, or immigrant rights as only providing our brothers and sisters with a path to full citizenship, or Black Lives Matter as only dismantling the private prison complex and restoring the voting rights act.
But it is more than that.
It is about a livable wage, a right to healthcare, a right to a proper education and a right to enjoy our golden years without the worry of paying our next bill or get medication or go to the general doctor for a simple physical.
It is time to bring “sexy” to our budget plan back.