Anybody who thinks Donald Trump is a populist fighting for the little person will find out otherwise if they read his budget which is being reported today by major media outlets. Trump slashes programs for those in need, cutting $1.7 trillion in human needs programs over 10 years. Medicaid would be cut by $800 billion over ten years. That was included in the Republican health care bill. SNAP (food stamps) will be cut by $190 over 10 years, about a 25% cut. School lunches and housing programs would be cut. Also, there will be cuts in Social Security disability benefits, despite Trump’s pledge not to cut Social Security.
The massive cuts which are planned would have a big impact on the poor including older persons on Medicaid in nursing homes and using long term care services. States would be forced to make those cuts in Medicaid. Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calls it a “reverse Robin Hood” budget proposal.
There will also likely be large cuts in aging services programs since the Department of Health and Human Services was targeted for budget cuts of $17 billion in his budget outline released earlier this year. At the same time as the budget cuts are proposed, President Trump and Republicans in Congress are pushing for massive tax cuts that will benefit him and the wealthy along with big increases in military spending. The budget does include a federal paid family leave program which Ivanka Trump has been pushing.
The same strong advocacy directed at the bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act now must be directed at the federal budget. Some Republicans in Congress are opposing the Medicaid cuts and will likely oppose other cuts but it will be necessary to show the personal impact that cuts would have on different people.