Trump’s budget is morally bankrupt

Published in the Elmira Star-Gazette

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Trump’s budget is morally bankrupt

When you are dealing in millions and even trillions of dollars, which were deducted from our paychecks year after year, decade after decade to pay for the government services and benefits on which we rely in our retirements, the huge numbers of people and the staggering amounts of money involved makes it hard to pin down how the federal budget will affect us personally. But affect us it will.

That’s why I’m drawing on information and facts from the Alliance for Retired Americans and Social Security Works to help give you a clear view of what is being proposed by the president and supported by his party regarding the three biggest federal programs that we have been paying into throughout our working lives and on which we most strongly depend when we retire: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

If there is truth in the adage that “budgets are moral documents,” then President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the 2020 federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 could be called morally bankrupt, because it aims debilitating cuts to these three key programs to pay for the 2017 tax cuts he put in place that benefit the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

His proposed budget also would further strip the ability of government regulators to stop corporate wrongdoers and polluters, and launches yet another brutal attack on Americans’ health care.

Make no mistake: The president’s FY 2020 budget is a clear statement of his priorities, and its policies are those he will enact if he gets the opportunity. These priorities and policies reveal his true attitudes toward us, the “forgotten men and women,” for whom he pledged to fight.

The president’s budget proposal would slash a whopping $845 billion from Medicare, $25 billion from Social Security, and $1.5 trillion from Medicaid over the next 10 years. After passing tax cuts for the wealthy and raising the federal deficit in 2017, key Republicans made it clear that they would use the increased deficit as a smokescreen for cutting “entitlements.” President Trump’s budget confirms this scheme, as it leaves working Americans and retirees to foot the bill.

“The president’s budget would be disastrous for workers, seniors and the middle class,” said Joseph Peters, secretary-treasurer of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Instead of pulling the rug out from under vulnerable Americans, we should be expanding earned benefits and making sure that everyone can have a secure retirement and access to good, quality health care.”

Donald Trump ran for president on a promise to keep his hands off Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. His latest budget proposal violates that promise yet again by cutting all three programs. His budget would cut Medicaid by $1.5 trillion — an indirect cut to Social Security for seniors who rely on Medicaid for long-term care benefits.

The president and his party will have to answer to voters in 2020 for his plans to cut their earned benefits — especially since Democrats are providing a clear contrast by holding hearings on expanding, not cutting, Social Security’s earned benefits.

Jim Carr, of Millport, is state president of PEF Retirees.

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