Wait until working-class voters realize they've been betrayed by Trump budget
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Trump proposed his first budget as president this week, calling it “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” A more appropriate title would be “Death by $3.6 Trillion Cuts.”

By most analyses, Trump’s budget is a draconian hatchet job that slashes programs for the neediest, the poorest, and the most vulnerable Americans, to give humongous tax cuts for the wealthiest, as well as massively increasing spending on the military and on building the border wall. 

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It is a reverse Robin Hood budget that focuses on supporting bullets and billionaires while abandoning low-income grade-schoolers and grandmothers. 

 

Trump supporters will say that Trump campaigned on reining in the budget, slashing programs that don’t work, on strengthening our military and growing our economy, and they would say that is exactly what he is doing. 

The irony is rich. Many of his drastic cuts are to programs Trump supporters rely on to live every day. 

Will the rural voters who supported him still do so when they see his budget has the deepest cuts in agricultural subsidies since Ronald Reagan, slashing nearly $50 billion over 10 years?

Will low-income Trump voters who depend on Medicaid love that he proposes slashing Medicaid by $800 billion after he promised NOT to touch the entitlement program? 

Will voters worried about the opioid crises who voted for him thinking he would come to their rescue still support him when they see these Medicaid cuts will severely hamper their ability to get the addiction treatment they or their family members need as it is currently mandated under ObamaCare but will not exist under the Republican healthcare plan or the Trump budget? 

Will Trump voters admire him for gutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as the Food Stamp program, by $192 billion over the next decade, as well as the Social Security Disability insurance?

Will they think he is making America Great Again by taking an ax to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, a.k.a. welfare, cutting it by $21 billion over 10 years?

Or maybe they like that he wants to get rid of essential domestic programs that many needy Americans count on like school lunches and Meals on Wheels.  

The sad reality is that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday Shows preview: Lawmakers, Trump allies discuss Russia probe, migrant family separation Seth McFarlane: Fox News makes me 'embarrassed' to work for this company  'Art of the Deal' co-author: Trump would act like Kim Jong Un if he had the same powers MORE is screwing them over, after they thought he had their back.  

Again with the irony.

The Trump administration has the gall to call this budget “Nationalist” with working class appeal. According to the Washington Post, “a White House official said Trump saw the shrinking of the ‘welfare state’ as a necessary component of his nationalist, working-class appeal and part of his pledge to “drain the swamp.”

Give me a break.

Trump’s budget would increase military spending to $722 billion, twice as much as it would be spending on domestic programs, and would include $2.6 billion to start building the border wall, which many Republicans in border states see as a massive and unnecessary waste of taxpayer money.

And the Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has the hutzpah to say that this budget is about the Administration wanting to help more people.  

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Mulvaney said. “We are going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs and get back in charge of their own lives.”

This arrogant and presumptuous attitude betrays a total tin ear and a huge misconception that most people that are on these programs and perhaps not working, want to be on these programs and not working.  

The reality is that many older Americans are retired but cannot pay the bills on their pensions or Social Security check.  

The reality is that most Americans who are able-bodied and want to work, are doing so. It doesn’t always mean they are making ends meet.    

Is Trump going to hire them at a better wage that will allow them to feed themselves, their families, pay for their healthcare which will now be more expensive under the Republican healthcare bill, help send their kids to college and/or retire with dignity?

Of course not. The Trump budget presumes hugely unrealistic economic growth that, in his bizarro world of fantasy, will create good paying jobs for everyone, enough so that these social safety net programs are no longer needed.  

But, alas, as most things in Trump’s world, this assumption defies reality, facts and the truth about how our economy really works.  

Trump is following the purest form of Republican orthodoxy, putting billions of dollars into the military industrial complex, offering tax giveaways to the rich, and putting the burden to pay for it all on the people to can least afford it. 

But the fact is, the Trump budget is so out of whack and hurts so many of Trump’s (and other Republicans’ conservative low-income voters) that many conservative Republicans will not be supporting it.  

Republican Congressman Hal Rogers called the cuts “draconian” and said they would hurt his low-income mostly rural district. Tom Cole, Republican from Oklahoma, said the budget would not pass Congress as it simply had too many cuts to programs that both Democrats and Republicans supported. And Mark Meadows of North Carolina said he drew the line at cutting Meals on Wheels.  

Republicans are smart to see the writing on the wall.  

While Trump clearly does not care that his budget puts vulnerable Americans’ lives at risk, Republicans know that if they support it, it will be one more putrid decision Republicans can add to the cauldron of political poison brewing in Washington that is putting their political lives in peril at the ballot box in 2018.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.