Friday, March 17, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: "America First" Budget Is Unworthy of Our Nation

MORNING MESSAGE

Richard Eskow
"America First" Budget Is Unworthy of Our Nation
This is a “shock and awe” budget, designed to dazzle and confuse Trump’s political enemies and the general public. When Republicans on Capitol Hill dial back a few of its more extreme cuts, as is almost inevitable, the public will be expected to sigh with relief. That would be a mistake, since the result will almost certainly remain draconian.

Everybody (But Military Contractors) Hates Trump Budget

Republicans run from Trump budget. ABC: “Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., an Air Force veteran and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the dramatic cuts to the State Department’s budget and foreign aid are ‘untenable.’ … Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. … called the blueprint ‘dead on arrival’ given proposed cuts to homeland security programs … Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., joined with Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., to condemn the blueprint’s proposed revival of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site …
Rural America socked in Trump budget. Politico: “The spending blueprint calls for a deeper cut to the Agriculture Department — 21 percent — than to just about any other agency. Trump would slash programs that invest in rural infrastructure, target rural public radio and demolish food-aid programs that farmers rely on to buy their products … While the budget blueprint doesn’t touch food stamps, the country’s largest nutrition program, because that falls under mandatory funding, it would decrease the funding available for other USDA feeding programs.”
And urban America. NYT: “…Trump would cut the budget of the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13 percent and eliminate programs like the Community Development Block Grant, which cities have used to fund programs like Meals on Wheels as well as homeless shelters … [It] would eliminate the Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency, the Education Department’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which run before- and after-school programs, as well as low-income heating assistance … It would cut funding for rental assistance and job training.”
Even coal miners hurt. ABC: “One such person who is may be affected is Rigel Preston, a former coal miner who lives in Paintsville, Kentucky, who benefited from a job retraining program funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission … one of 19 independent agencies whose funding would be eliminated … ‘I don’t have to work in 20-degree weather to earn a decent paycheck anymore. I was a surface coal miner. I was exposed to the conditions all the time. Now I can make a comparable wage in a climate-controlled environment, so I’m all for this,’ Preston told ABC News.”
Cutting Meals on Wheels will backfire. Bloomberg: “The aim is to decrease federal spending, but cuts to the service could backfire by raising health-care costs … Most recipients live alone, take more than six medications, and rely on these meals for at least half the food they consume … frail recipients getting proper nutrition are less likely to fall, and one day’s hospitalization costs the same as a year of Meals on Wheels…”
Meals on Wheels does work. W. Post: “A 2013 review of studies, for instance, found that home-delivered meal programs for seniors ‘significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. Other beneficial outcomes include increased socialization opportunities, improvement in dietary adherence, and higher quality of life.’ Not only that, the programs offer good bang-for-your-buck…”
Eliminating funds for public broadcasting hurts rural America, says The Nation’s John Nichols: “Of the 575 public television and public radio stations across the United States that receive CPB grants, 248 of them serve rural regions of the country. For the rural stations, the CPB money is far more vital than for urban stations because, as the CPB notes, ‘many of these small stations operate in communities with limited financial resources and high poverty and out migration rates.'”
Infrastructure missing from Trump budget. CNN: “President Donald Trump is proposing to cut or eliminate several key federal infrastructure programs despite repeated vows to increase spending … Trump’s budget director said the White House will uphold Trump’s pledge for $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending through an unspecified ‘infrastructure package’ to be released later … Trump’s budget outline hits hardest at surface transportation by eliminating a $500-million-a-year program that was created in the federal stimulus package of 2009 to finance a wide range of projects, from replacing bridges to building street car lines. The budget also would cut funding for new rail or bus lines.”
But “Pentagon Draws Up a Shopping List.” NYT: “To help the Pentagon figure out how to spend all that money, Mr. Trump announced that he intended to nominate a Boeing executive, Patrick M. Shanahan, for deputy secretary of defense.”
Both parties seeks to assign blame for possible shutdown. The Hill: “‘If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy,’ [Democrats] wrote [Sen. Mitch McConnell] … ‘I’m amused by the Democrats apparently warming up to the idea that threatening to shut down the government’s a good idea. It seems to me everybody’s got kind of memory loss on the other side,’ McConnell told reporters.”

Bannon Eyes Health Care

Freedom Caucus, Bannon look to shape health care bill. Politico: “The Freedom Caucus … has clearly found a sympathetic ear in Trump’s right-hand man Bannon, who wants conservatives to be included in the legislative process instead of twisting their arms to vote yes. The fledgling alliance has given the group newfound hope that they can win the White House over to their side — or, at least, that Trump won’t blame them if Obamacare repeal implodes.”
Why is Anthem supporting Trumpcare? NYT’s David Leonhardt: “…Anthem appears to be providing political cover to the administration at the same time that company officials are lobbying the administration for a favorable decision on another matter. It’s pretty brazen…”
Sen. Joe Manchin urges constituents to rise up against health care bill. Roll Call: “‘I would bombard the White House,’ the West Virginia Democrat said. ‘I really think that President Trump is the only one that can stop this going on right now.’ … ‘202-456-1414,’ Manchin told the roughly 200 people packed in the auditorium of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. ‘That’s the White House switchboard.’”

Public Opposes Deportations

Vast majority opposes Trump’s immigration crackdown in CNN poll: “…nearly two-thirds of Americans saying they’d like to see a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants rather than deportations … six in 10 say they are more concerned that deportation efforts will be overzealous than they are that dangerous criminals will be overlooked … Offering citizenship to those immigrants who are living in the US illegally but hold a job, speak English and are willing to pay back taxes is immensely popular, with 90% behind such a plan.”
Rust Belt mayors like immigrants. Bloomberg: “Immigrants represent rebirth: They’ve stabilized neighborhoods, cushioned city coffers and, in the process, supported credit ratings and bond sales.”

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