Here’s an interesting video to look back on, especially with the gift of hindsight. It was made in 2017 and covers, one of President Trump’s first budget statements.
Audio Transcription – below.
Good morning, John. President Trump suggested a budget to the American people yesterday. Let’s try and understand that budget quickly and simply. First, there are a bunch of programs like Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment and Social Security that would require much more work to change and those are left untouched. Those things and some other stuff called mandatory spending takes up 73% of the US budget. These blocks here represent the one trillion 64 billion dollars that is discretionary spending in the US. Every block is a billion dollars, so there’s 1064 blocks on this page. Let’s look at how things stand today, keeping in mind that this is just the 27% of the budget that is discretionary.
About 590 blocks are the military, more than half the total, Health and Human Services is 84 blocks, Veterans Affairs is another 75, Education 68 blocks, Housing and Urban Development 47 Homeland Security 41, State Department and international aid 38, Energy 30, Agriculture 23 blocks, NASA 20, Transportation 18, Labor 12, Treasury (which is like the IRS and some other stuff) 12 blocks, Commerce 9 blocks, the EPA is 8 blocks, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting half a block, and a bunch of other tiny stuff that adds up a little bit. So keeping in mind that this is a suggested budget that will change a great deal as it is turned into law by Congress, what do we see changing? The Trump budget increases the military by 52 blocks a ten percent increase enough to pay for the entire current budgets of the EPA, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Transportation Department, and NASA with some leftover.
That money is slated to increase the number of people serving in the Army in the Marines and increase the number of jet fighters and warships we have and broadly to quote: “Accelerate the war against Isis.” Four and a half blocks go to Veterans Affairs earmarked for health care programs, also increasing by about 3 blocks is Homeland Security which will be dedicated largely to border control, a full block and a half going to detention and removal of undocumented immigrants. Two-and-a-half blocks going to the down payment to build a big, beautiful wall. You might have noticed that that added up to more than three blocks there are also some cuts within Homeland Security, mostly counter-terrorism stuff. And that’s it for increases. Now, let’s go through how those things are paid for, without dramatically increasing the budget. 13 blocks are going to come out of health and human services including the low income Home Energy Assistance Program (which basically helps poor people stay warm in the winter), but it also includes cutting six blocks out of the National Institutes of Health for biomedical research one of the largest sources of research funding in the world.
11 blocks are to be eliminated from the State Department. International aid would be largely gone, climate change initiatives at the UN would lose all their funding, and US contributions to UN peacekeeping would be reduced. The Department of Education loses more than 9 blocks, which will eliminate college scholarship programs for the poor, federal work-study programs, and before and after school programs for low-income kids. An increase of billion dollars within education would go to a private school voucher program. Almost 5 blocks come out of a bunch of different programs into the department of agriculture, including international food aid, rural development, and conservation funding. More than 4 blocks are eliminated from housing and urban development which includes funding for meals on wheels, affordable housing, and anti-poverty programs. blocks come out of the EPAa total of 30% of its budget the hardest hit of any agency by percent. 3200 jobs and 50 agencies would go, as well as funding for the clean power plan, regulations designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Two-and-a-half blocks come out of the labor department, mostly by eliminating job programs for seniors, poor young people, and the unemployed.
billion is taken out of the Department of Energy, though billion dollars of DOE funding will also be moved internally, and put toward increasing management of our nuclear weapons arsenal. Decreases come out of programs supporting development of advanced and future clean energy technology. The Department of the Interior loses a block and a half, funding that supports wildlife refuges and National Heritage Areas and the acquisition of new federally protected land. 1 block comes out of the Department of Justice, mostly because of decreasing prison populations (which is actually good news all around) And NASA gets a small cut which comes almost entirely out of the parts that study the Earth’s climate. Oh, what’s that little block over there? That’s probably not important right? Just one block? That contains, oh yeah, the entire National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the entire budget for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting which supports public TV and radio.
All those things, all together, one block under Trump’s budget, they don’t exist anymore. That is basically very basically because there are thousands of programs within these departments and knowing which ones do what is not going to fit into a fun little YouTube video, but basically what this budget asks for. And now, it goes off to the House and Senate to get argued about tirelessly. There is a lot in here that many or even most think is worth fighting for. An enormous amount of lost funding for scientific research (both in clean energy and medicine), a lot of lost funding for resources for the elderly and disadvantaged populations, an almost wholesale elimination of international aid, and pretty much anything to do with climate science is just gone. In reality, Congress is going to have huge problems with this budget and if Trump’s tax cuts are taken seriously, even with these budget cuts, it will be an extremely unbalanced budget. That’s all I got. I counted to a thousand a lot today! John, I’ll see you on Tuesday. .
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For UK political fans then I can definitely recommend a correspondent on the UK’s commercial Channel – ITV. His name is Robert Peston and he used to work for the BBC, but he has some great shows and reports now on ITV particularly on his own show – Peston. He’s not to everyone’s taste, but he presents the issues very concisely and always has access to the highest profile guests – you can watch on ITV Hub outside the UK using this – http://uktvabroad.org/itv-stream-abroad-free/