A Major Scam: Trump’s Budget Is Not Only Cruel To The Poor, It’s a Plot To Help The Rich
When it comes to budget proposals, every administration fudge the numbers. But this one represents a new level of deception.
Budget proposals always involve some guesswork into the unknowable, and administrations routinely massage numbers to their political advantage. But this proposal is unusually brazen in its defiance of basic math, and in its accounting discrepancies amounting to trillions-with-a-t rather than mere millions or billions.
One maneuver in President Trump’s budget arguably waves away an estimated $5.5 trillion in additions to the national debt from tax cuts, nearly $20,000 for every American alive today, enough to fund the EPA at current spending levels for nearly 700 years. Trump critics in the budget-wonk world are pointing to another $2 trillion of red ink as a blatant math error—or, less charitably, as an Enron-style accounting fraud.
But the media is downplaying this deception by declaring the Trump budget dead on arrival in Congress as if the fact that it won’t be rubber-stamped into law means that nothing in it matters. But a presidential budget is a detailed blueprint for governing—and in this case, the blueprint has a fair amount in common with blueprints offered by the Republicans who still control Congress.
As Politico states, “Trump’s numbers don’t add up. It reads like a corporate prospectus for a shady widget manufacturer who claims that cutting widget prices will spark a massive surge in widget sales, while also promising major cutbacks in ineffective widget salesmen and unnecessary widget costs. It doesn’t pencil out. And it’s worth understanding the main reasons it doesn’t pencil out, because soon Republicans in Congress will get to use their own pencils.”
For President Obama, the gap separating rich and poor Americans was, as he put it in a speech in 2013, “the defining challenge of our time.” He and his administration labored against Republican opposition and stubborn economic realities to shrink that disparity for eight years, making reducing inequality a central goal of national policymaking.
Despite those efforts, the United States remains among the most unequal developed countries, and on Tuesday, President Trump decisively abandoned his predecessor’s attempts to narrow inequality.
To the contrary, the policies described in his first comprehensive budget would add to the incomes of the rich, while taking away from the poor.
“It’s just the complete obverse of what Obama was doing,” said Jared Bernstein, who was chief economist to former vice president Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“These folks seem to look at the economy and conclude that the wealthy don’t have enough and the poor have too much, and they’re going to fix that,” he added, according to the Washington Post.