Trump’s new budget is his war on public services

As The New York Times first reported, Trump’s newly confirmed budget director, former South Carolina congressman Mick Mulvaney, has assembled a “hit list” of agencies and programs to eliminate. Current candidates include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities; Legal Services Corporation; and AmeriCorps. And Trump—no doubt egged on by Mike Pence—has pledged to cut the more than $500 million in funding to Planned Parenthood…

The proposed cuts have everything to do with right-wing ideology and nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. All of the programs slated for closing provide essential public services. All of the programs slated for closure, plus the proposed Planned Parenthood cuts, cost the federal government a combined total of about $3 billion per year. That grand totally amounts to one-half of one percent of, the current Pentagon budget, now runs at about $600 billion per year. And that’s before Trump’s pledge to throw an additional $1 trillion at that bloated department over the next ten years.

To cite just one of the more egregious examples of Pentagon waste, last December The Washington Post reported that the Pentagon had attempted to hide a report from its own business advisory board that suggested steps that could cut $25 billion in bureaucratic waste per year. That’s over eight times the cost of the programs Trump and Mulvaney are hoping to eliminate. Why did the Pentagon keep quiet about the report at the same time it claims there is a shortage of funds for basic readiness functions like pilot training? Because Pentagon officials were afraid that if Congress knew how much was being wasted, it would be harder to convince Congress to pony up the tens of billions in additional dollars it seeks year after year.

Perhaps the biggest waste of all is the Pentagon’s preexisting plan to spend an estimated $1 trillion over the next three decades on a new generation of bombers, submarines, missiles, cruise missiles, and factory upgrades. Even if one believes there is a “need” for nuclear weapons to deter another nation from launching a nuclear attack, independent experts have indicated that that function could be accomplished with a few hundred warheads. The current US arsenal of deployed and stockpiled nuclear warheads numbers 4,500. And once the New START treaty is fully implemented, 1,550 of those warheads will be deployed and ready to launch. This needless nuclear excess is good news for Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics and terrible news for American taxpayers, not to mention the possible basis for a new nuclear arms race that would threaten us all. And of course, the only way to be truly safe from nuclear weapons is to get rid of them altogether, as presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have acknowledged, even if they were unable to achieve that admittedly daunting goal.

We Can Fight Trump’s Cuts to Essential Government Programs