Thursday, March 16, 2017

Make America Sick, Dumb, Hungry, and Dirty Again

Egads, the Trump Budget Plan is a true horrorshow, not хорошо at all. This particular bit struck me as especially troublesome:

Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

This means a whole lot of deregulation, a wholesale degradation of environmental and labor standards... this is particularly a victory for extractive industries which are particularly dangerous to workers and the environment. The simultaneous increase in defense spending and decrease in State Department spending seems to put the lie to the whole 'Hillary Clinton is a warmonger so vote for Trump' trope pushed during the election last year. I have long been a proponent of the use of soft power in America's dealings with the rest of the world, but it looks like the only tool in the Trump Maladministration toolkit is a hammer, by which I mean high-explosive ordnance. At least we didn't elect a warmonger... not one in a pantsuit, at any rate.

Trump also wants to wage the culture war by using the power of the purse:

It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.

Besides the fact that eliminating these positions works counter to Trump's stated goal of creating jobs (maybe those EPA inspectors can be sent down into the coal mines to dig, rather than regulate), these cuts will further impoverish the culture- I work for a not-for-profit, and we receive NEH grants for some of our programs... this time, it's personal.

Not surprisingly, the budget also cuts programs that help the poor: home heating fuel subsidies and community block grants which are often used to combat homelessness. One real puzzler is the proposal to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control- wealthy people fly more often than poor people, and I can't imagine a privatized FAA, concerned with cost-containment, making air travel safer.

Perhaps the worst feature of the budget is the gutting of funds earmarked for research into clean, renewable energy and climate change mitigation:

The proposed budget extensively targets Obama programs and investments focused on climate change, seeking to eliminate payments to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund — one key component of the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate agreement — and to slash research funding for climate, ocean and earth science programs at agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At the same time, clean-energy research, heavily privileged by the Obama administration, would suffer greatly under the budget with the elimination of the ­ARPA-E program (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) at the Energy Department and an unspecified cut to the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Yep, at the worst possible time, we have a government which is putting the pedal to the medal in the race along the road to, well, The Road. It's here where I reiterate my line that we aren't destroying the world, we are destroying our world... best of luck to our hardy Coleopterous planetary heirs.

Meanwhile, the budget funnels money to charter schools and private schools... gotta pay for school-wide bear defense.

Then, of course, there's the Wall:

And he requested $1.7 billion in new funding this year and an additional $2.6 billion in new funding in 2018 to begin construction of a wall along the border with Mexico. Trump proposed creating this wall during his campaign and had said Mexico would pay for it. A number of congressional Republicans appear to be cooling on the idea.

By the time Trump guts everything which makes this country liveable, there won't need to be a wall on the southern border... maybe the Canadians will start building one of their own, they'll need it.


mikey said...

Whoa, now. Steady there, big fellah. The president's budget is an utterly meaningless stack of paper. They all produce one, and none of them ever gets implemented. It is what they call an 'aspirational document'. Very little of this crap would get through congress - the Republican majority in the Senate is a mere two seats - so it won't even be in any package that comes to the floor. And the $54 billion increase in military spending? Can't go through reconciliation because it would violate the Budget Control Act and would be filibustered.

Trump is sending a message - that he's a radical, mean, disinterested prick. I believe stuff like this is GOOD, because it makes people angry and energized, and represents no actual risk or harm...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I sure hope the Republicans don't exercise the Nuclear Option, but I wouldn't put it past them.