ongtime federal budget experts quickly slammed the White House’s proposed 2018 budget on Tuesday. Its $1.4 trillion in cuts over the next decade would endanger tens of millions of households, especially the poor and vulnerable, while rewarding the wealthy with unneeded tax cuts and giving contracts to military contractors and others to privatize many government functions.
But inside the right-wing bubble that is the Trump White House and GOP-majority Congress, what’s taken as serious policy ideas, spending principles and rationales for the president’s 2018 budget is reality-averse craziness.
Even as budget watchers say there’s no way Trump’s blueprint will make it through Congress, the starting line—before compromises, concessions and deals begin—is not just mean, cruel and uninformed; it’s delusional. Not only would the budget hit working-class white voters who bet on Trump like a lottery ticket, but the budget also shows a White House living in a land of make-believe.
Here are 15 excerpts from the transcript of White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney’s briefing Tuesday. The excerpts reveal this crew lives in a land where red ink bleeds, but people don’t; where the only deserving Americans are those who served in the military, not the poor, disabled, hungry nor fixed-income seniors; and where freezing health care spending isn’t seen as a cut, even if the marketplace keeps jacking up prices year after year.
There have been many credible, lucid and analytical comments about this proposed budget, but sometimes it’s important to listen to what the actual authors say, as it is revealing about their thinking and values—or the lack thereof. Take a look.
1. This isn’t a budget, it’s dressed-up tax cuts. Mulvaney said as much at the start of his press briefing. “The name on the cover is ‘The New Foundation for American Greatness.’ As I read through it over the weekend, as I did—in fact, we’ve been working on this since before I actually got here—it struck me that the title should have been different; that the title should have been, “A Taxpayer-First Budget.” Because that’s what this is… We looked at this budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the bills.”
2. If they’re hurting people, well, that’s compassion. The George W. Bush administration used to label itself the “compassionate conservatives.” The Trump administration has updated that by saying government needs to take pity on taxpayers, not the recipients of government benefits—even if they are people who have paid taxes for years! “Compassion needs to be on both sides of that equation. Yes, you have to have compassion for folks who are receiving the federal funds, but also you have to have compassion for the folks who are paying it. And that is one of the things that is new about this president’s budget.”
3. It’s official. Trump-economics means 3 percent growth. People have been asking, what is their economic philosophy. It is what it has always been for Trump: exaggerated predictions about the future. “What is Trumponomics?” Mulvaney asks, then answers: “What is it? It’s sustained, 3 percent economic growth. Everything that we do in this administration, every single time I am called into the Oval Office, whether it’s on immigration policy, health care policy, tax reform policy, trade policy, budgets and spending—the focus is sustained, 3 percent economic growth.”
4. $54 billion for military, cops, border walls. Anybody in the business of creating arms or using force will get more, whether they need it or not. “National security, obviously [is] a priority for this president. Border security [is] another priority for him… The total plus-up, again, for the 2018 budget is $54 billion over the Congressional Budget Office baseline. The law enforcement gets a significant increase here, and that’s both at the federal and the state and local level as we follow through on our efforts to enforce the law.”
5. The needy always wear uniforms! This is where Mulvaney abandoned any pretense of having a moral compass. Mulvaney basically stated that only veterans are deserving of safety nets, and everyone else is a freeloader. “If I can look you in the eye and say, ‘Look, I need to take this [tax] money from you so that I can help this injured vet,’ I can do that in good conscience—I can look you in the eye, and my guess is you’re okay with that. I am a lot less comfortable to the point of not wanting to look you in the eye and say, ‘Look, I need to take this money from you to give to this person over here who really isn’t disabled but is getting a disabled benefit, or this person over here who is supposed to use the money to go to school…”
Read 6-15 at link below.