Earlier this week Mr. Trump sent his budget recommendation to Congress for government spending in 2017. It has raised the eyebrows of many politicians in Congress as well as the ire of media outlets across the country. It holds a multitude of budget cuts to departments across the board, demolition of government corporations and programs as well as grants; while there are only a few budget increases in certain departments as well. The projected government spending for 2017 is currently at $3.65 Trillion (Budget Estimate), which is up about $110 Billion more than 2016 where the government spent $3.54 Trillion (source).
The Presidential budget proposes an increase in Department of Defense spending by $54.6 Billion as well as massive spending increases to Homeland Security and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. There will be huge cuts across the board in nearly every other department as well as the termination of many social programs that a large number of American’s depend upon daily. The main cuts and increases will be detailed below:
Department of Defense: Most of the increased military budget will be going to fund the widely criticized F-35 fighter jet program as well as a program years in the works by the Navy to develop highly sophisticated Naval Frigates and Destroyers. One of the main functions of these ships is new mine-sweeping technology suites that have a hard time differentiating between sunlight glinting of the ocean surface and actual mines. Certain programs within the military that actually affect the day to day lives of soldiers and their families are being altered or cut, such as how on-base commissaries will no longer get funding from the DoD to keep prices low for our service members, but will be required to up the prices of food and other products in order to become self sufficient.
Homeland Security: The $21.8 Billion border wall between the US and Mexico that Mr. Trump promised the Mexican government would pay for is included in this budget increase – surprise we are paying for it after all – as well as plans to massively increase the number of people employed by the border patrol agency and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
National Institute of Health: The proposed cut is 18% ($2 billion) of its budget. There will be massive cuts to the areas of biomedical research and development, as well as many research and science programs currently funded by the NIH.
Environmental Protection Agency: A 31% (2.5 billion) budget cut to an already grossly underfunded agency. The cuts in this department will reduce/remove environmental protection regulations (such as allowing oil companies to dump toxins into local fresh water sources), and eliminate any programs having to do with climate change research or science.
State Department: The State Department will see a 28% cut in it’s budget. These drastic cuts mostly go to the US Agency for International Development (USAID)which is a wildly successful international help program run by the United States – and garners quite a lot of goodwill for our country from other nations – that provides food and nutrition assistance in famine situations as well as food, clothing and medical assistance in times of disaster. Any funding for the Global Climate Change Initiative and UN climate change programs will also be discontinued.
Department of Energy: Will see a $900 million reduction of funding, specifically to the department of science, and eliminates Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy which helps create jobs and technology for renewable energy sources such as solar energy (which is the fastest growing part of the energy industry as well as the largest domestic employer) .
Department of Education: will see a total loss of 14% of its budget. There will be an $1.4 billion increase in funding channeled into “New School Choice” programs that provide vouchers for private schools. There will however be a $2.4 billion decrease in the budget, resulting in cutting before and after-school programs as well as summer programs and weekend programs for public schools, need-based grants for college tuition, and Professional Teacher Development programs.
Department of Health and Human Services: An 18% cut. Funding for social welfare programs will be eliminated such as Meals on Wheels and other similar programs that deliver meals to senior citizens. Funding cuts will be applied to other social welfare programs like SNAP (food stamps) whose funding accounts for only $7 tax dollars for every $50,000 made by every American per year.
Internal Revenue Service: Facing a $300 million withdrawal of funding. This will result in a massive loss of money for the government in missed tax cheats/tax fraud that could otherwise be caught if the department were properly staffed..
Other departments also facing non-detailed cuts: Department of Agriculture and Labor (-21%), Department of Commerce (-16%), Housing and Urban Development (-13%), Department of the Interior (-12%) most cuts in this department are assumed to be geared towards removing regulations and protections, and lastly the Department of Transportation (-13%), though nothing was noted of the $1.3 trillion spending package Mr. Trump promised during the 2016 campaign to rebuild and repair infrastructure across the country.
Other programs that will be dropped by the government from various departments include: Corporation for Public Broadcasting and funding for National Public Radio (NPR) would be eliminated, the National Endowments for Arts and Humanities would be terminated, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s divisions for research and education will be no more, eliminated funding for legal aid groups and other grants for legal services, the Chemical Safety Board, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the United States Institute of Peace.
There is slightly less deficit spending in this budget compared to last year’s, however the estimation did not take into account Mr. Trump’s proposed tax plan that would significantly reduce federal government income – if the plan were approved in Congress. These budget cuts and program eliminations do not make America great but in fact weaken and corrode American society. Rejecting and ignoring science, de-funding education, and providing tax cuts to multinational corporations will not bring about a better and stronger America, only a more poor and unintelligent one.
If you see how horrendous this budget is, and how poorly it will affect America, please call, email, or write your congressmen and women in the House of Representatives and the Senate (most importantly the Senate since they are in charge of government spending) and ask them to vote against this budget. You can use the links provided to look up and contact your designated representatives in both houses of Congress.