President Trump submitted his budget blueprint for the upcoming fiscal year to Congress today, and as expected, it’s mostly bad news for government agencies, who are having their funding drastically slashed through a series of draconian spending cuts.
The biggest swing of the axe is set to fall on the beleaguered Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is currently led by a climate change denier of the highest order, the agency’s former archenemy Scott Pruitt. According to an analysis by Bloomberg, its budget will be reduced by 29.6 percent, with programs focusing on pollution and carbon footprint mitigation set to lose out the most.
The Department of Education (ED), headed by someone with no experience in public schools whatsoever, is also set to lose 13.6 percent of its funding.
It’s worth noting that both Betsy DeVos and Pruitt are nonplussed whenever the subject of the obliteration of their agencies comes up in conversation – and that there are concrete steps being made by Congressional Republicans to abolish both of them by the end of 2018.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal branch of government responsible for, among other things, maintaining the food supply of the US, is set to lose 29 percent of its funding. Health and Human Services (HHS), whose job it is to protect the health of all Americans, will also lose 23 percent of its budget.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to streamline government agencies from time to time in order to make them run more efficiently, but these cuts are nothing short of draconian. Trump’s America is now a place where education, the environment, food, and health are deemed far less essential than they were this time last year.
Lest we forget that these are just percentages, and comparing them like for like doesn’t do the scale of this financial redistribution justice. The EPA, for example, has an annual budget of $8.1 billion. This cut would take it down to around $5.7 billion.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) has an annual budget of $599 billion as of 2015. Trump’s budget, if approved by Congress, would bump this up to $659 billion, a monetary jump of $60 billion.
At the same time, the EPA is losing $2.4 billion. This is a lot for the EPA to lose, but compared to the DoD increase, it’s nothing at all. The Trump administration is implying that agencies like the EPA need to be cut in order to boost the nation’s defensive capabilities, but a bit of simple arithmetic leaves this logic wanting.
You can protect the nation and look after the environment at the same time. In fact, as Trump’s own Defense Secretary recently said, the two are interlinked more than most realize.
The budget is likely to anger even moderate Republicans in Congress, many of whom think that the cuts are going too far. Most Democrats will likely do all they can to fight against this unusually harsh budget.
At the same time as this is being debated, the GOP’s American Healthcare Reform Act of 2017, which is designed to replace Obamacare, is being slated by almost every sector of society and plenty of lawmakers on both sides of the isle.
Not only will it leave the poor, sick, and elderly far worse off than they have been in living memory when it comes to health insurance, but as we’ve previously reported, it will strip mental health care away from tens of millions of additional Americans.
Ah well. At least waging war will be slightly easier.