A group of brown women hold signs saying "Medicaid matters" at a protest.

Trump’s Budget Is Stunningly Cruel to Working-Class Women and Kids

The White House released Trump’s spending budget yesterday — and it calls for “unprecedented cuts to programs for poor and working-class families.”

Here are just a few of the stunningly cruel cuts Trump laid out:

  • $72.5 billion in cuts to programs for people with disabilities – most prominently, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which already gives people with disabilities the absolute bare minimum they need to live a decent standard of living. Trump’s massive cuts to SSDI break his campaign promise never to cut Social Security.
  • $143 billion in cuts to federal student loan programs – and it would eventually eliminate federally-subsidized Stafford loans entirely, saddling some students with thousands more in student loan debt.
  • Nearly a third of funding for diplomacy and foreign aid. Foreign aid is less than 1% of the budget – and it is literally lifesaving for those it serves, providing services like HIV/AIDS treatment, fighting tuberculosis and malaria, and providing clean water.

Trump’s budget is yet more proof his agenda isn’t about populism — it’s about plutocracy.

Some of the White House’s most brutal cuts are to programs that working families desperately need: it calls for almost $200 billion in cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. According to the most recent data, approximately one in five American children relied on SNAP for food. On top of slashing food stamps, the budget calls for massive cuts to WIC, a nutrition assistance program for low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and kids under the age of five. Hey, Mike Pence, how does taking food out of the mouths of toddlers fit into your “culture of life”?

The budget also takes an axe to Medicaid – piling a $610 billion in cuts on top of the already staggering $880 billion embedded in the ACA repeal, for a total 47 percent cut to the program. Forty. Seven. Percent.

Women make up a majority of Medicaid beneficiaries – so women, especially women of color, would bear the harsh burden of Trump’s proposed cuts, losing access to essential healthcare. Medicaid standards vary quite a bit state to state, but more than half the states provide Medicaid eligibility to pregnant people with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. In other words, Medicaid is the only insurance program many pregnant people, especially people of color, can afford – and the insurance program that covers nearly half of American births. Medicaid also covers about 37% of American children: a harsh reminder of how hard it is for working-class parents to access stable employment with health insurance. Trump’s budget suggests dismantling a health insurance program that serves as a lifeline for ten of millions of moms and young people. During the campaign, Trump promised not to cut Medicaid – a promise he’s now broken twice, and in spectacular fashion.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, Trump’s budget would defund Planned Parenthood, preventing them from receiving federal health funds for providing irreplaceable health services to the low-income patients they serve.

The Administration (very implausibly) suggests that they’re proposing a balanced budget. So where’s all this money going? You guessed it: sweeping tax cuts for very wealthy Americans.

The Administration will try to spin this as a middle-class tax cut. More analysis is needed to know exactly how proposed cuts would shake out – but, as Joe Rosenberg, a senior research associate at the Tax Policy Center, tells CNN “the majority of the benefits go to high-income people.” Take, for example, the estate tax, which the Trump budget suggests eliminating. The estate tax kicks in when someone passes away and their heirs inherit their wealth – but it only kicks in on estates worth more than $5.5 million. It is a tax cut that exclusively benefits the wealthiest .2 percent.  This is the budget Paul Ryan dreamed about during those college keggers.

The Trump budget is a plan to gut the programs that help working-class moms feed their kids and take them to the doctor. It’s a plan to tear apart an already precarious social safety net: the programs that help people get back on their feet when they get laid off, that help students to go school on a full stomach, that help people with disabilities keep a roof over their heads. This budget is a plan that makes it even harder for working people, especially working women, to build a decent life for themselves and their families – all to finance massive tax cuts for the very wealthiest people in the country.

These cuts are horrifying, but they’re not law yet. The President’s budget now goes to Congress for approval, where it always gets a dramatic makeover. And these cuts can’t pass without at least 60 votes in the Senate, meaning they can’t pass without support from at least least eight Senate Democrats. That means Democrats can, at the least, force Republicans to drop the most destructive elements of Trump’s plan – and constituents can demand their representatives of both parties reject this dumpster fire of a budget.

Header image via Huffington Post

Sejal Singh is a columnist at Feministing, where she writes about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice. Sejal is a Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for Know Your IX, a national campaign to end gender-based violence in schools, where she has led several state and federal campaigns for student survivors' civil rights. In the past, Sejal led LGBT rights campaigns for the Center for American Progress. Today, she is a student at Harvard Law School and a frequent speaker on LGBTQ rights and civil rights in schools.

Sejal Singh is a law student and columnist at Feministing, writing about educational equity, labor, and reproductive justice.

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