(While the fake news and the unDemocratic Party distract us with tall tales of Russian boogeymen, The Donald is busy imposing reactionary neoliberal austerity cuts to America, turning us into Chile 1973.)
by Patrick Martin, WSWS
The Trump administration sent instructions to federal agencies Monday proposing a $54 billion increase in spending for the Pentagon, the intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security, to be offset by $54 billion in cuts for other agencies, mainly those involved in domestic social services and regulation of business.
Trump’s budget outline sets the stage for his first address to Congress on Tuesday. It provides further evidence that the Trump administration will be dedicated to radically rolling back social spending to finance a dramatic escalation of military operations, both in the neo-colonial wars in the Middle East and against the United States’ ‘great power’ rivals: China and Russia.
Federal departments are being told to file budget requests for the fiscal year that begins October 1, 2017 based on the numbers they were given by the Office of Management and Budget. Each agency will be responsible for working out the cuts required to meet proposed reductions, while the Pentagon, CIA and DHS will propose expanded operations with the additional funds they are to be awarded.
There were no details made public about the exact budget ceilings given to each federal department, but White House officials made it clear that foreign aid programs in the State Department and anti-pollution regulation through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would suffer some of the largest cuts.
The total budget of the EPA is only $9 billion, so many other domestic programs are certain to be hard-hit, involving such departments as Education, Labor, Transportation, Agriculture (which includes food stamps), Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services.
The biggest federal social programs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are not affected by the budget order, which involves only funding for so-called discretionary programs, those financed through annual congressional appropriations. Entitlement programs, where benefits are paid out automatically to those who establish their eligibility, are covered by a separate budget process…
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