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Trump’s Budget Proposal Misguided, at Best

The President hopes that cutting funding for meaningful domestic programs will free up money for the military and border security.

A week after Congress signed a bipartisan budget deal into law, Trump sent them his own. Just last week, Mr. Trump signed Congress’ two-year deal into law, even after having very little involvement in its planning. The deal struck between both parties increases military and domestic spending by $300 billion. However, Trump’s recently released vision for his ideal budget, An American Budget, conflicts with some of the provisions in the actual, enacted, legislation. Mr. Trump’s version most notably proposes spending less on domestic programs than what was agreed upon—by Trump and Congress—a week ago.

Trump’s vision for the new budget would use money from typical good-for-the-sake-of-good programs like SNAP, Medicaid and Medicare, to bolster military spending and the President’s hopes for rebuilding this country’s infrastructure.

However, other aspects of Trump’s budget vision might stifle new infrastructure projects. The spending would be supported in part by major cuts to transportation programs and surprisingly, the Army Corps of Engineers, who manage a great deal of America’s infrastructure projects. Grants to Amtrak would be halved from $1.2 trillion to $538 billion, and funding for the Army Corps of Engineers would be cut by 20 percent. It’s great to have money to spend on infrastructure—but why cut funding to its builders and users? 

Some beneficiaries of Mr. Trump’s vision would be the Department of Homeland Security and those that think a border wall will cease the flow of immigration from Latin America. Trump requests $18 billion for border security, $1.6 billion for 65 miles of Mexican border wall and the hiring of 2,000 additional Immigrations and Customs Enforcers and 750 Border Patrol agents. All this eventually adds up to $46 billion, or in other words $3.4 billion more for Homeland Security than in last year’s budget. Many experts believe that $100 million could be put to better use improving the countries from which immigrants emigrate, not making our own more unwelcoming. Trump’s multi-billion dollar proposal to curb immigration shows his fundamental misunderstanding of the problem or its causes, and will not work. To spend so much money on it, at the expense of millions of Americans, seems absurd, if not intentionally harmful.

Trump’s vision also includes major cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Slashing the Agency’s funding by $2.8 billion would account for 34 percent of its already meagre allowance. The program would also remove all programs devoted to climate change and cut the Office of Science and Technology funding in half, to $489 million from its current $762 million. The EPA, already wrought with low-morale and an exodus of scientists tired of working under the new administration, does not need such cuts. 

The White House estimates that these cuts will save over $600 million of taxpayer money compared to last year. However, it would leave millions of Americans without guaranteed access to the welfare programs they rely on, devote billions to a faulty immigration scheme and seriously roll back the main government body responsible for protecting our environment. The world’s strongest military will be that much stronger, at a cost people will only experience back home. Luckily, Trump’s budget proposal is merely his vision, how he hopes Congress will use extra money. They do not have to listen.

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