The America First Executive Budget Proposal: Winners and Losers

By Justin Shea

In mid-March President Donald J. Trump released his first executive budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, entitled “America First, A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” Let’s take a closer look at who and what this budget actually puts first, or, in terms our fearless leader will understand, who are the winners and who are the losers.

Winner: The Military Industrial Complex

President Trump’s budget proposal requests $639 billion for the Department of Defense. This would be a $52 billion increase in funding for DOD from fiscal year 2017 and, coupled with the additional $2 billion for defense programs outside of the DOD, would bring the total increase for defense spending to $54 billion. It is even stated in the budget proposal itself that “this increase alone exceeds the entire defense budget of most countries.” To be exact, this increase in and of itself is larger than the defense budget for every other nation except; China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. The budget proposal allocates most of this funding for; “warfighting readiness needs,” necessary resources for the defeat of ISIS, increased cybersecurity, additional ships for the US Navy, and maintenance and additional F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Air Force. Trump’s budget proposal claims that all of this is absolutely necessary and it depicts our military capabilities and infrastructure as having been weakened by the tyrannical Obama administration. It goes as far to say that the Air Force “is now the smallest it has been in history.” That’s right! The smallest Air Force in history, even smaller than than the Air Force of the continental army, tasked with dropping cannonballs from above on Trenton in the hours before the assault. However, the ridiculousness of the justification for such an absurd increase in defense expenditure, matters not when the man in the oval office made it abundantly clear, in his message to congress at the beginning of the budget, that he wants our armed forces, “when called upon to fight, do only one thing: Win.” (I fear as though much of the minutia of International human rights law is lost upon this President).

Losers: Poor Kids 

The largest losers in this budget proposal are by far underprivileged children. This becomes clear from the budget proposal for the very first department (Department of Agriculture). This budget proposes the elimination of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which provides for the donation of U.S agricultural commodities and associated financial aid assistance to carry out preschool and school feeding programs in foreign countries. In this scenario Trump is ripping food from the mouths of non-American children (we can safely assume Trump deems these as less valuable), but American children are still affected in a negative way by this budget. The proposal suggests closing centers that serve disadvantaged youth by “educating and preparing students for jobs.” The proposal would also reduce the overall budget for the Department of Education by $9 billion while adding $1.4 billion in funding for school choice programs (get ready to watch federally subsidized white flight in action folks). The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would be eliminated. Thisprogram supports before-school, after-school, and summer programs for children. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program is also on the chopping block. This grant is reserved for college students with the greatest need for financial aid. Federal Work-Study would also be reduced “significantly,” because why should the government help people be able to afford higher education in a changing economy where a college degree is becoming more and more important in order to find employment opportunities. That just wouldn’t make any sense for them to do that.

Winner: Climate Change

The America First budget proposal does much more to hurt the environment than just slashing the EPA’s budget by $2.6 billion or 31%. The Global Climate Change Initiative would also be eliminated and the U.S would cease “payments to the United
Nations’ (UN) climate change programs.” Funding for the clean power plan will also be discontinued, this is of course because Trump has proven time and again that the only type of power he enjoys is the kind you pay for with an escort or are given by Vladimir Putin in a dark alley.

Losers: Workers

Would you consider yourself as someone who works? Did you do a training before beginning your job? Really, you did? Wow! Guess what just proposed eliminating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s training grants? Thats right, its the America First Budget proposal! Job safety grants are apparently worth cutting to save a whopping 11 million dollars, or in other terms 0.000000656% of the total US GDP. This is coupled with the slashing of the Department of Labor’s budget by 21%. The budget would also eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which aides with the transition of “low-income unemployed seniors into unsubsidized jobs.” And say adios to those doctors and nurses who care for those workers with injuries they sustained on the job, and the old people with health conditions they developed in their old age because this budget “eliminates $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs.” Also if you work for the EPA approximately 3,200 EPA employees will be canned so get ready for that. There is however one profession where workers are winners in this budget:

Winners: Wall Builders

That’s right folks, you chanted for it, and now its finally here. Little children hand over your legos, White Women, give us your Nora Roberts novels, 1970’s Pittsburgh, fork up your defensive lineman, we all have our role to play for the cause. The cause of course, as the budget proposal describes it, is a “high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology.” A.k.a the wall! The wall that President Trump and his crack team of advisors have determined is worth investing $2.6 billion for FY 2018. Personally I don’t think there is a better way to spend that $2.6 billion, except maybe to stop the budget cuts to the Department of the Interior ($1.5 billion cut) and Department of Justice (1.1 billion cut). For the readers of this budget analysis here is a list of possible combinations of cuts to programs and departments that add up to about $2.6 billion:
– Department of Transportation ($2.4 billion) + NFIP Flood Hazard Mapping Program ($0.2 billion) = $2.6 billion – Department of the Treasury domestic programs ($0.5 billion) + Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program and other “lower priority programs” ($1.1 billion) + Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant and other FEMA programs ($0.7 billion) + NOAA grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management and research ($0.3 billion) = $2.6 billion
– Environmental Protection Agency ($2.6 billion) = $2.6 billion
– Department of Energy ($1.7 billion) + Funding for multilateral development banks
such as the World Bank ($0.7 billion) + TRIO (Programs that increase access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students) and GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) ($0.2 billion) = ($2.6 billion)
– Department of Labor ($2.5 billion) + Small Business Administration ($0.04 Billion) + Community Development and Affordable Housing ($0.04 billion) + Essential Air Service Program ($0.02 billion) = $2.6 billion

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