It's no biggie that the Trump/Bannon Federal Budget proposal chops funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Television and National Public Radio (NPR).  All three are favorite targets of conservatives and right wingers since they represent everything that is vile and rotten about liberals and progressives and, therefore, present a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of the nation.  During the Reagan Administration, Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) led the same fight (Google "Piss Christ") without much success in the end.   But let's see what happens this time around.

For some reason that escapes me just now, the kid's program, "Sesame Street," was also cited as a leftist/communist inspired show that was indoctrinating our younger Americans to hate America.  Or something.  I forget.  So it’s a given that Trump has selected Cabinet Heads to lead Federal Agencies that they hate, we get that, but there are a few other “surprising” items in the proposed budget that seem to reflect Chief Advisor Steve Deconstructionist Bannon’s war of the worlds philosophy. 

Let me dispense with the two largest cuts, at least momentarily: The EPA and the State Department.  Former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, sued the EPA 13 times, doesn’t believe in climate change and the Trump budget cuts EPA’s funding by 31% which, if I have my math right, is around one–third.   So no cognitive dissonance with this one.  We got the message.  The State Department.  Along with the Trump/Bannon international relations and foreign affairs philosophy, which goes something like this: “We don’t need anybody’s else’s help so all you other countries can just go fuck yourselves,” State’s budget gets cut by 29%, not quite one-third but close enough.  Me?  I’m guessing that Hillary Clinton shouldn’t have dissed Vlad Putin while she was illegally serving as Secretary of State.   Revenge on liberals and progressives, maybe?  Nah.  Couldn't be this.

But what can you say about the National Institutes of Health’s $5.8 billion budget cut from its current $30.3 billion budget?   Really?  But burrowing deep into the “details” of the cut, here’s what you come up with: the slashing of NIH’s biomedical research institute (called NIH’s “Crown Jewel”) that funds worldwide research on many diseases including cancer, developmental disorders and mental illness.  More than 80% of these research funds goes to more than 300,000 biomedical researchers here in the U.S. and abroad.  I guess it’s the “abroad” factor that doesn’t align with the Trump/Bannon world view that we don’t need to cooperate with any other dumb country in the world.  And biomedical research?  Sounds like some frivolous waste of money particularly since I’m betting all those researchers are effete liberals who’ve been indoctrinated in Communism at all those effete liberal universities.  Oh, and then too, there’s the part where the whole of NIH is proposed for additional realignment and “restructuring,” presumably as a piece of the Bannon “deconstructing America” philosophy.   Wanna bet that the next time there's some Ebola outbreak we aren't gonna fare as well as the last time? 

We’ve already known that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency’s (NOAA) weather satellite monitoring system has been cut because who needs to know where deadly hurricanes are forming and we all know that Climate Change is just a Chinese hoax.

Along the same “deconstructing America” lines, on her first day as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma announced that states will be allowed to adopt employment requirements for recipients of Medicaid and will require that recipients start paying Medicaid premiums.  All those disabled folks will just have to suck it up.  This mind you, while the Trump/Ryan Deathcare Act is being considered by the House of Representatives that basically turns Medicaid into a state run block grant program.   You can pretty well bet that folks in Mississippi and Alabama are going to suffer as a result.  

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) takes a $6 billion hit and the Trump/Bannon budget eliminates the entire Community Development Block Grant program which funds are used mainly for urban development programs and funds Meals On Wheels.   Of course Trump believes that our cities are rife with decay, crime and carnage that he promised to correct and elimination the block grants will somehow, magically, transform all of our urban centers into mini- Mar-A-Largo paradises.  Not quite sure of the logic here, but, hey, we're living in Alternate Set of Facts world now. 

More “deconstruction.”  NASA escaped major budget cuts but guess what part of NASA’s activities did get cut?  If you guessed something related to Climate Change, you win today’s prize! 

Returning to EPA for a moment, the agency’s 31% cut will result in the loss of 3,200 jobs from the total of 15,000 and more than 50 of EPA’s programs.  The Superfund Program (Google it if you don’t know what this is) takes a hard hit and, for some inexplicable reason, the entire Chesapeake Bay cleanup project (very close to home for me) and the same kind of program for the Great Lakes are totally eliminated.   After all, we don't need clean water, do we.  We can always just buy Dasani at the grocery store.   As for the Chesapeake Bay I'm very familiar with the counter arguments about how the fishing, crabbing and clamming industries will be devastated by cutting this program. This industry, a single boat clamming and crabbing community, will die if the Chesapeake Bay isn't cleaned up from agricultural runoff.

The Trump budget is not simply a conservative or Republican budget but one that is clearly designed to attack programs that liberals favor but is also heavily pro business with the targets of its cuts.  This too is nothing new for Republicans and conservatives but the breadth of the cuts is new.   The irony of such an attack of our clean air, water and land, the loss of jobs that these cuts, if enacted, will cause, will, of course, be lost on the Rust Belters since they don’t cotton to facts, data and objective information.  The “Yugest” irony is that Donald Trump, so-called billionaire, got elected for being a friend of the working and middle class and still travels around the country with the very same message.   As some political pundit somewhere or other once stated:  "Never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter." 

And why is this such an anti-environmental, anti-regulatory, anti-progressive budget?  Because this is what the Rust Belters believe have caused them angst, the vast explosion of liberal and progressive ideas and programs.  The Trump/Bannon budget is singularly anti-liberal and anti-progressive.  In practical terms one could say that the cuts to the Federal budget are to pay for a $54 billion increase in defense spending for a defense budget that is larger than the military expenditures of the next seven (or ten depending on what you include) nations combined, increases in customs and border patrol agents to round up illegals who are actually contributing to the economy, and building a wall to prevent Mexicans who are not crossing the border from coming to America.  But in my view, if the Defense Department can't maintain superiority under these circumstances, it occurs to me that maybe the problem - if there is one - isn't related to money but to something else entirely.    

It all sounds just a bit crazy to me.  But then I don’t believe in the destruction of the administrative state.  Do You?  

Take Care Folks!  It's Dangerous Out There! 


Popular posts from this blog