Inventing new ways to punish the vulnerable to pay off the rich
This week we’ll find out how much crueler the House version of Trumpcare has become after Michigan Republican Fred Upton enabled the bill to pass by signing on to its provision to let states opt out of guaranteed health benefits and protections that prevent insurers charging Americans with pre-existing conditions more money. But even before the Congressional Budget Office estimates how many working Americans will be punished to give the rich and their corporations a trillion dollars tax breaks they don’t need, we’ll see the new Trump budget. (And even before that, we’ll find out if he’ll finish the job of pouring gasoline all over the ACA marketplaces, lighting a match and then screaming “FIRE!” Update: He basically is.)
Early glances at Trump’s budget suggest that it will be even crueler than the first Trump proposal — which would decimated nearly everything government does that doesn’t go BOOM. That atrocity quickly faded into history because Republicans weren’t willing to bet their careers on it, even more than a year before the election.
This budget is also just a proposal and will likely be similarly ignored but it’s significant for Trump’s willingness to break a key promise, which will now become part of our fiscal conversation.
Namely: It cuts Social Security.
You probably won’t hear that much because it cuts Social Security in an oblong way, just as Trumpcare cuts Medicare in an oblong way. BOTH Trump’s budget and Trumpcare cut Medicaid in a direct way, breaking another Trump promise.
But the cuts are so deep and the latitude it gives to states to decide if they want to focus the cuts on kids, the elderly and the disabled, who benefit from the vast majority of Medicaid spending, is so vast that these cuts would end up decimating what many people think as Medicare — the long-term and nursing career many seniors expect to be there for them.
Andy Slavitt told Deray on Pod Save America that the debate now isn’t whether we should move forward or go back to 2009 where we were before the Affordable Care Act. Republicans are trying to take us back to 1965 before Medicare and Medicaid created the social safety net we all take for granted. These cuts are taking us back toward 1956 when Dwight Eisenhower signed Social Security Disability into law.
And statistically the victims of these cuts are more likely to be older and in rural areas, Trump voters are more likely to be dependent on these services that most Americans rightly feel they’ve earned from a lifetime of work. And the disability insurance in Social Security is one thing that mends the holes in that net.
This is why I say anyone who wants to punish Trump voters needs to get in line behind Donald Trump
The cruelty of what Trump’s trying to propose in order to pay off his voters is so vast and confusion, corruption and incompetence surrounding his Administration are so distracting that it’s increasingly difficult to harness our greatest natural resource — our focus.
So here’s all you need to know about the Trump budget from Michael Linden — a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute:
[Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr]