Trump’s bloodthirsty budget is a fact check on his lies | Editorial

Posted Feb 23, 2020

No matter which Democratic presidential candidate ends up at the top of the ticket, remember this in the upcoming election:

President Trump’s 2021 budget proposal is the most accurate encapsulation of what he’s running on – more lies.

Forget the promises of “insurance for everybody,” or his vow that “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.”

It’s all there, in black and white. We have his budget, and it shows he’s been lying. Again.

Here’s what Trump proposes: Cut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that everyday Americans rely on; increase the rolls of the uninsured; and defund crucial efforts to keep our air and water safe and fight the spread of infectious diseases.

His budget is “a living, breathing fact check” on his fake policy priorities, in the words of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York. If that all sounds good to you, give Republicans back control of the House, so they can do Trump’s bidding.

But if not, his budget is one of the best arguments for re-electing Democrats to Congress. Many of its horrors could become reality, if not for the seats that people like Tom Malinowski or Mikie Sherrill picked up in moderate districts.

Start with the entitlement programs that Trump repeatedly vowed not to touch. Over the next decade, his budget calls for half a trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, $25 billion in cuts to Social Security and $920 billion in cuts to Medicaid.

Granted, the Medicare cuts are aimed at doctors and hospitals. Somehow, with less money, the budget claims there will be no reductions in services offered or eligibility. His attack on Social Security benefits are direct, and would cause immediate hardship.

People in no condition to go back to work, given the severity of their disabilities, would have a significantly harder time qualifying for benefits.

And his harsh cuts to Medicaid are a big deal, as Trump fights in court to kill the Affordable Care Act, kicking millions off insurance and eliminating protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

What do you trust more: The cold, hard numbers in his budget, or his string of lofty promises? “Watch what he does, not what he says,” as Malinowski puts it – whether your loved one has a pre-existing condition like cancer or relies on Social Security.

Trump also promised to balance the budget, which isn’t happening either. Instead, he offers more record deficits, while extending his tax cuts for millionaires and wealthy corporations. The cuts land on programs for the poor like food stamps, and even rental and heating aid for the elderly.

He’d slash $170 billion from student loan forgiveness and as much as a quarter of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, savaging funding for Superfund cleanup. That hits close to home, since New Jersey has more toxic sites than any other state.

He’d cut efforts to respond to disease outbreaks, too, even as we’re in the midst of a global panic over coronavirus. But Trump does have money to spare for some pet projects: The wall Mexico was supposed to pay for, and a fairly large increase for NASA’s effort to send Americans back to the moon, and then Mars.

A worthy investment, as long as he’s the first one sent into orbit.

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