During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the “forgotten men and women of our country” that he would champion them. As evidence that he was a different kind of Republican, he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families.
On Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit.
Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget, combined with the tax cuts Republicans passed last year, would amount to one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations. It would also charge trillions of dollars in new debt to the account of future Americans. It’s a plan that could please only far-right ideologues who want to dissolve nearly every part of the federal government, save the military.
The proposal would raise military spending by 14.1 percent while cutting funding for the State Department — the agency that has a mandate to resolve problems without going to war — by 26.9 percent. It would cut the Department of Health and Human Services by 20.3 percent and the Department of Education by 10.5 percent. It calls for (yet again) the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and proposes cutting food stamps by $213 billion, or around 30 percent, over 10 years. Medicare and Medicaid, which benefit one-third of Americans, are targeted for cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars.
If Congress adopted Mr. Trump’s proposal, millions of people would stand to lose health insurance, subsidized food, low-cost housing and other benefits. The result would be to greatly increase poverty and hunger in America.
This is surely not what most of Mr. Trump’s working-class supporters imagined during the primary and general election campaigns. In May 2015, Candidate Trump tweeted, “I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.” And in an April 2016 ad that ran in Pennsylvania he promised to “save Social Security and Medicare without cuts.”