Friday, March 17, 2017

Budget losers; environment, children, poor, elderly; winners; wealthy, defense industry

To summarize the proposed budget of the so-called President; if you are poor or middle income, elderly, a child, a student, or someone who cares about the environment or the arts and humanities you're a loser.  If you're a defense contractor or wealthy, you're a winner.

"When you start looking at the places that will reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was 'Can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs?' And the answer was no,” said Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a Thursday morning interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

"What programs?" you might ask?  A summary is below.

But while we have you here, Mr. Mulvaney, what will NOT get cut, but in fact, increased?  Basically, the answer is "defense spending."  Yes, I'm sure the single mom and the coal miner will be thrilled. Keep in mind that the programs summarized below are getting cut altogether for the most part. Defense is already well-funded in excess of any possible full use of our defense capabilities without destroying the world in the process.  And against what threat are we dramatically increasing our defensive capabilities?  North Korea?  Iran?  ISIS?  China? Russia?

True, the aforementioned countries, entities are dangerous and enemies of our country but truly only North Korea presents a real threat and that real threat is to our allies, South Korea and Japan in the immediate future.  Still, we could grant that North Korea poses a real threat that may require at some point, military action.  Are we not now capable of handling them militarily right now at current funding levels if diplomacy proves hopeless?

Of the other threats to the U.S., the only country that is be likely to be both problematic and difficult to handle militarily would be - Russia, headed by the so-called President's "pal", Vladimir Putin.  Russia is the only country the President has not criticized severely, allies included.  Mr. Coal Miner, who needs that Appalachian Regional Commission and Ms. Single Mom, who needs that after school program?  We need to spend lots of extra money so that we can defend ourselves against the evil Russians headed by the very smart guy, Vlad Putin who helped get the so-called President elected.

There is more math here, however.  The cuts to the programs below will pay for about 6% of the increase in defense spending.  Yes, if the increases in defense were just 6% less, no cuts would be necessary.

And we have not even figured out how to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthy within the Republican Health Care plan, "TrumpDontCare," or the tax cuts for the wealthy in the revenues of the budget which has been deliberately been segregated from the discussion of cutting social programs for the poor and elderly.  The Administration's logic is that these social programs are intolerable to pay for but that tax cuts for the wealthy as a reason to repeal Obamacare is just fine and further tax cuts for the wealthy for no particular reason is even finer.  But we must increase spending on a military buildup even if we have to sacrifice some meals for old poor folks.

For a good answer of the programs being eliminated go to USA Today;  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/16/what-does-trump-budget-eliminate/99223182/

Here's a quick summary:

*State Criminal Alien Assistance Program ($210 million): Four states receive the bulk of the funding from this program, which reimburses states for the cost of incarcerating criminal immigrants.
*Senior Community Service Employment Program ($434 million): SCSEP is a job training program for low-income people 55 and older that the White House says is "ineffective."
*Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants ($11 million)
*The Global Climate Change Initiative ($1.3 billion) was an Obama administration proposal to support the Paris climate agreement. It includes the Green Climate Fund ($250 million), the Strategic *Climate Fund ($60 million) and the Clean Technology Fund ($171 million).
*Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund ($70 million): The account allows the president to "provide humanitarian assistance for unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs worldwide," but Trump said the mission is best left to international and non-governmental relief organizations.
*The East-West Center ($16 million): Chartered by Congress as the Center for Cultural and Technical Interchange Between East and West, the Honolulu-based nonprofit has a mission of strengthening relations among Pacific Rim countries.
*The Essential Air Service program ($175 million) provides federal subsidies for commercial air service at rural airports.
*Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants ($499 million).
Community Development Financial Institutions grants ($210 million).
*Geographic watershed programs ($427 million) like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ($40 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Initiative ($14 million): The Trump budget would turn over responsibility for those efforts to state and regional governments.
*Fifty other EPA programs ($347 million) including Energy Star, Targeted Airshed Grants, the *Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, and infrastructure assistance to Alaska Native Villages and the Mexico border.
*Office of Education ($115 million), which the Trump budget says duplicates efforts by the agency's Science Mission Directorate.
*African Development Foundation ($26 million): An independent foreign aid agency focusing on economic development in Africa.
*Appalachian Regional Commission ($119 million): A 52-year-old agency focused on economic growth in 420 counties.
*Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board ($11 million): The agency was created by the Clean Air Act of 1990 and investigates chemical accidents.
*Corporation for National and Community Service ($771 million): The agency is best known for its Americorps community service program.
*Corporation for Public Broadcasting ($485 million): Supports public television and radio stations, including the PBS television network and, indirectly, National Public Radio.
*Delta Regional Authority ($45 million): An economic development agency for the eight-state Mississippi Delta region.
*Denali Commission ($14 million): A state and federal economic development agency for Alaska.
*Institute of Museum and Library Services ($231 million): Provides money to the nation's 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.
*Inter-American Foundation ($23 million): Promotes "citizen-led grassroots development" in Latin America and the Caribbean.
*U.S. Trade and Development Agency ($66 million): Promotes U.S. exports in energy, transportation, and telecommunications.
*Legal Services Corp. ($366 million): A 43-year-old congressionally chartered organization that helps provide free civil legal advice to poor people.
*National Endowment for the Arts ($152 million): Encourages participation in the arts.
*National Endowment for the Humanities ($155 million): Supports scholarship into literature and culture.
*Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. ($175 million): Better known as Neighborworks America, the organization supports local affordable housing programs.
*Northern Border Regional Commission ($7 million): A regional economic development agency serving parts of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.
*Overseas Private Investment Corp.($63 million): Encourages U.S. private investment in the developing world.
*U.S. Institute of Peace ($40 million): Government-run think tank focusing on conflict prevention.
*U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness ($4 million): An independent agency coordinating the federal government's efforts to reduce homelessness.
*Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars ($11 million): A program to provide scholarships and fellowships in social sciences and humanities.

Surely, some of the above programs may have run their course.  Others may not justify the expenses.  But the block grants to the states in which resides programs such as "Meals on Wheels"?  The Climate Change Initiative?  Americorps?  The Arts? PBS?  The Institutes of Peace?

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