Breakdowns of Agent Orange’s Budget Proposals

Angry Peter Capaldi

Angry Peter Capaldi

I’m genuinely getting sick of talking about the Thin Skin in the White House. I had to take a break. But here I am, again, because details of his nasty budget are out, and it isn’t pretty. Dude wants to cut a whole lot of important stuff.

We’ve already seen a bit of this. The blueprint of this was released back in March. And it’s even worse than that…

Let’s start with the only good news, here…

The White House released more details of its federal budget proposal on Monday. It includes substantial cuts to Medicaid and other aid to the poor. Because it comes packaged with tax cuts, it assumes the economy will grow faster as a result and ultimately balance the budget by 2027. It is, however, unlikely to pass Congress as is.

Unlikely to pass as is. That’s nice. And all that means is Agent Orange will try again… and it’ll be even worse.

So here we go. That NYT link gives us the basic rundown…

Spending cuts: $4.3 trillion over 10 years

Nondefense discretionary spending: $1.4 trillion

As outlined in March’s “skinny budget,” the proposal includes significant cuts to most nondefense government agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by 31 percent for 2018 and the State Department and related programs by 29 percent, with additional 2 percent cuts each year after. Law enforcement and homeland security spending are exceptions — the budget includes $1.6 billion for a border wall.

Oh my GGGGOOOOODDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The fucking border wall! He’s never going to give that up, is he? He’ll be trying to build that fucking wall long after he’s no longer occupying the White House, won’t he? Jesus fuck…

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program: $616 billion

Changes to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program would save the federal government money, but would reduce the number of people with insurance. Medicaid savings are estimated at $610 billion over 10 years. The administration would shift some costs to the states, by setting annual limits on federal payments to each state, starting in 2020.

I guess children and the poor are worthless to old Orange Toupée (yes I know it’s not a toupée; it should be).

Claimed savings from reductions in war funding: $593 billion

Phasing down the Defense Department’s Overseas Contingency Operations fund, an off-budget spending account that is used to fund wars, saves some more money. The fund has been used to override spending caps passed by Congress and could be changed during any given year.

I mean… sure? Okay? But Congress would never allow that. Ever.

Other: $339 billion

The budget includes new limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, expected to reduce the practice of “defensive medicine,” saving Medicare $31 billion over 10 years. It also proposes raising about $36 billion in new federal revenue by selling off major American energy resources and infrastructure, opening up vast new areas of public land for oil and gas drilling, and redirecting state revenues that flow from oil and gas royalties back to Washington. The Postal Service would see $46 billion in cuts.

Fuck conservation, I guess… oil’s where it’s at… ’cause this is the early 20th century and all…

Savings on interest payments on the debt: $311 billion

Interest payments on the federal debt are one of the federal government’s biggest expenses. Under current law, the interest payments are expected to grow as deficits mount and interest rates increase. The Trump administration predicts that its cost-cutting will slow this rise.

Welfare programs: $272 billion

The budget seeks to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps, by $190 billion and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grants by $15.6 billion. It also proposes $40 billion in savings by barring undocumented immigrants from collecting the child care tax credit or the earned-income tax credit.

Repeal and replace Obamacare: $250 billion

Undoing the Affordable Care Act would save $250 billion over 10 years, according to the Trump administration, which promises “a smooth transition away from Obamacare.” (These savings are in addition to those proposed for Medicaid.)

Cutting welfare programs, destroying the ACA… this is his wet dream…

Student loans: $143 billion

The Trump administration is proposing large cuts to the federal student loan program for low-income college students. The proposal eliminates federally subsidized loans, which pay students’ loan interest while they are in school, saving $39 billion. The budget would also eliminate the public service loan forgiveness program for nurses, police officers and teachers. The largest savings, about $76 billion, would come from creating a single student loan repayment plan based on income.

Oh. Great. Just fucking great.

I currently am exceedingly lucky, in that of all my student loans, I only pay one, at $40 a month. The rest are currently at $0 a month, thanks to, yes, President Obama. If I’m forced to pay those right now, I’m done. I’m already in debt paying for health insurance (that Public Option would have been wonderful), my car, and that $40 student loan. Those three things alone, and my budget is always negative, because I don’t make enough to afford those three things. And that’s why I live with Mom and Dad right now.

But force me to pay the rest of my student loans, and I… well, I can’t. I don’t make that kind of money.

Government payments: $142 billion

The budget promises savings from reducing unspecified government payments through “actions to improve payment accuracy and tighten administrative controls.”

Disability programs: $72 billion

The budget would tighten access to Social Security’s disability program, counting $48 billion in savings from testing “new approaches to increase labor force participation.” The budget does not make changes to Social Security benefits for retirees, which along with Medicare is one of the primary drivers of the nation’s debt.

You know what’s ridiculous about that last one?

WE PAY FOR OUR SOCIAL SECURITY! Social security isn’t some gotdamb welfare program. We pay into it through our paychecks. I mean…

Retirement benefits for federal employees: $63 billion

Cutting retirement benefits to federal workers would save $63 billion over 10 years. It would be done by reducing the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and by gradually increasing government employees’ contributions to their own retirement fund.

Farm bill programs: $38 billion

President Trump is proposing a cap on crop insurance premium subsidies and eliminating commodity payments and crop insurance for farmers with adjusted gross income above $500,000 a year.

Financial regulation: $35 billion

Unspecified changes to the Dodd-Frank Act passed after the financial crisis of 2008 would produce more savings.

I really don’t have anything to say here. Instead, let’s look at the spending increases…

Discretionary defense spending: $469 billion

Mr. Trump is proposing a roughly 10 percent increase to the Pentagon’s base budget, with some of the money going toward new jets for the Air Force and ships for the Navy. The increase goes hand in hand with Mr. Trump’s proposal to cut foreign aid, including programs that military officials say contribute to global stability and are seen as important in avoiding future conflicts.

Because that’s what we need… more defense spending…

Infrastructure investment: $200 billion

The $1 trillion infrastructure program is now called a private/public infrastructure investment, priced at $200 billion over 10 years.

That seems like a cut? But whatever…

Veterans Choice Program: $29 billion

The budget would extend a voucherlike program that allows veterans to seek medical care in private hospitals outside the Veterans Affairs system.

New paid parental leave program: $19 billion

A new program would provide six weeks of paid leave to new parents.

As always, whenever something from Agent Orange looks positive, it isn’t actually so. That paid parental leave program is probably a good example of this. I’ll try to find more information for another post on that one. But let’s move on…

As already noted, Medicaid will be affected, along with other anti-poverty programs, because the Tan Administration doesn’t care about the poor.

The wildly optimistic projections balance Mr. Trump’s budget, at least on paper, even though the proposal makes no changes to Social Security’s retirement program or Medicare, the two largest drivers of the nation’s debt.

To compensate, the package contains deep cuts in entitlement programs that would hit hardest many of the economically strained voters who propelled the president into office. Over the next decade, it calls for slashing more than $800 billion from Medicaid, the federal health program for the poor, while slicing $192 billion from nutritional assistance and $272 billion over all from welfare programs. And domestic programs outside of military and homeland security whose budgets are determined annually by Congress would also take a hit, their funding falling by $57 billion, or 10.6 percent.

The plan would cut by more than $72 billion the disability benefits upon which millions of Americans rely. It would eliminate loan programs that subsidize college education for the poor and those who take jobs in government or nonprofit organizations.

And that about sums that up. You’ll absolutely love the excuses the Advisers are using for it…

Mr. Trump’s advisers portrayed the steep reductions as necessary to balance the nation’s budget while sparing taxpayers from shouldering the burden of programs that do not work well.

“This is, I think, the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes,” said Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s budget director.

“We’re not going to measure our success by how much money we spend, but by how many people we actually help,” Mr. Mulvaney said as he outlined the proposal at the White House on Monday before its formal presentation on Tuesday to Congress.

What complete, unmitigated bullshit. This is literally about fucking over the poor even more than they already are.

This budget also destroys medical research, cuts the National Endowment for the Arts among other important programs, and even reduces foreign aid, because… you know… we need all that money to destroy them darn job-stealin’, terroristic foreigners…

The budget also cuts a lot of education programs

President Trump’s full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, to be released Tuesday, calls for a $9.2 billion, or 13.5 percent, spending cut to education. The cuts would be spread across K-12 and aid to higher education, according to documents released by the White House.

Here’s a breakdown of what he wants to do to student loan aid, which I already ranted about above…

This proposal calls for big changes to federal student aid:

  • The federal government would stop subsidizing the interest on student loans, for a cut of $1 billion in the next fiscal year. This would add thousands of dollars to the cost of college, primarily for low-income graduates.
  • Simplifying student loan repayment plans — a proposal that enjoys broad, bipartisan support. Currently, borrowers have a dizzying array of options: standard repayment (a 10-year term), graduated, extended, pay-as-you-earn, income-based, income-contingent and public service loan forgiveness. Trump’s budget would create just one repayment plan that caps monthly payments at 12.5 percent of discretionary income. For undergraduate borrowers, the balance would be forgiven after 15 years.
  • In the process of that simplification, the budget would phase out the program known as public service loan forgiveness, which erases student loans after 10 years of employment for the government or a qualifying nonprofit. Almost half a million people are enrolled in this program. Those with graduate, not bachelor’s, degrees, have the largest balances, such as teachers, doctors and lawyers.

Yup. Like I said above… I’d be completely fucked…

There is a positive here, but remember what I said about things Agent Orange does that look positive…

Another proposal in this budget with broad support: making Pell Grants, which provide tuition aid for low-income students, available year-round. Currently you can only get one in the fall and one in the spring.

Lauren Asher is a college affordability advocate with the Institute for College Access and Success. That group has supported simplifying student loan repayment. However, she says, all told, this budget amounts to, “multiple cuts that will exacerbate student debt by increasing the need to borrow, and increase the cost of repayment for many but not all students.”

And there’s more, too, like building up so-called “school choice”…

Title I is the biggest K-12 federal education program. It supports high-poverty schools. Under Trump’s budget, regular Title I funding would be flat. And $1 billion more would be dedicated to a new grant program for states that allow poor students to leave neighborhood schools for other public schools, and take that extra money with them. This concept is known as “portability,” or as it’s sometimes known, the “backpack of cash” idea.

It’s controversial, because in practice it means redistributing funds from poorer schools and potentially poorer districts to richer ones.

In addition, $250 million would go to create vouchers for private schools, and $167 million for charter schools.

The administration is also expected to unveil — outside this budget process — a tax credit scholarship program (sometimes called neo-vouchers), as part of tax reform.

Vouchers. I bet that’s all Betsy DeVos, or Betsy Davros, as Elon James White likes to call her…

As for other cuts…

Some of the biggest axes would fall on a $2.3 billion program for teacher training and class-size reduction, and a $1.2 billion after-school program, which serves nearly 2 million children, many of them poor.

A $190 million literacy program would also be cut.

So no more after-school programs, teachers not being trained… basically, he wants to utterly destroy education, from pre-K to PhD, which already isn’t great to begin with.

NPR does discuss the chances of it getting past…

We should note that, though this document has more details than the “budget blueprint” released earlier, nothing becomes law until it passes through Congress.

If history is any guide, budget reductions won’t be so extreme.

The Department of Education was established under President Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan is the only president since then to seek a significant cut in its budget.

In fact, Reagan campaigned on a proposal to eliminate the department altogether. Once elected, his initial budget proposal asked for cuts of 20 to 25 percent in elementary and secondary education, among other programs.

But total appropriations for 1981 ended up higher than the year before. Of course, Reagan was dealing with a House and Senate controlled by the opposing party.

And that’s just it, isn’t it? Right now, until 2018, the entire government is owned by the Republicans. And if we don’t get out there and change that, this budget may be what we have to deal with for the 2 to 6 years, or longer if future politicians can’t, or won’t, fix it.

So let’s get out there and change that. I’ll be using ResistBot to voice my anger over this. And I’ll be voting in 2018.

Will you?

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