In the beginning of March, President Trump submitted his proposal for a FY2020 Federal Budget. As has been the case with his prior two proposed budgets they:
- Call for massive cuts to all discretionary spending on social services AND
- Are immediately declared irrelevant.
Trump’s budgets do not set the agenda for federal spending, Congress all but ignores anything in these plans. Congress sets the budget for various departments through its Appropriation committees.
At these tables, the spending plans of the agencies are noted, members of the Committee are lobbied for changes, additions and/or cuts. The final spending plan is then approved and a formal budget is produced. When no agreement can be reached due to political conflicts, both sides of the aisle usually agree to kick the can down the road and extend the budget from the prior year to the next year–a continuing resolution..
However, the President’s budget produces a lot of significant chances for both the Administration and its opponents to posture and rally its supporters. A good example of this is the proposal to defund The Special Olympics. The Trump budget hawks have made this cut in all three of their proposed budgets. But this year it got noticed, went viral on social media–and everyone got to posture (including Trump) about how they SAVED the program and reinstated funding.
It’s all a very cynical game. The Trump administration is woefully understaffed and oftentimes ignorant about the issues it faces. The crafting of this budget is left largely to the hardline budget hawks and movement conservatives in its orbit. The staff they do have understands spin and propaganda, so they create these plans that Trump can wave around on the campaign trail to rally the true believers. The President’s budget is not a serious document that seeks to outline our country’s priorities and deal with the issues we face.
However, the President’s proposed budget does give great insight into the mindset of a significant portion of the Trump coalition. The disability rights community needs to understand the motivations of those working against us. The lesson is simple: Trump Republicans do not believe in any spending for social services–in health care or in disability services.
The cuts in Trump’s budget are deep and broad, effecting all non-defense related discretionary funding. Through administrative gimmicks such as work requirements and block grant spending, the Trump administration is even going after mandated social spending that it can’t zero out–things such as Social Security, Medicaid and unemployment insurance. This budget truly enlightens us about our enemy and what they would do to us if they had the chance.
Remember this. Trump and his mob would happily leave us dead and dying by the road, if it meant that rich people get their tax cuts and the military can continue their efforts at ethnic cleansing–at our borders and around the world.