By: Trudy Ring/The Advocate
Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget has alarmed many, with its drastic cuts to health research, the arts, and programs that aid the poor. And one of the most alarmed is out financial guru Suze Orman, who denounced it in a strongly worded Facebook post.
“The budget that was presented this morning targets the poor and literally takes away vital financial help that many people currently need,” Orman wrote. “From subsidies for heating oil for people who can’t afford to pay to heat their residences in the winter to Meals on Wheels just to name two of the more than 60 government agencies and programs that would be entirely defunded.”
Orman noted that she refrained from commenting on politics during the presidential election and has continued to do so since Trump’s inauguration, since the audience for her financial advice comes from the entire political spectrum. But “when I see the budget that was presented this morning it’s hard for someone like me to stay silent,” she added.
The budget proposal, for the fiscal year beginning October 1, covers discretionary spending only, which is just 27 percent of the total federal budget; mandatory spending, The Washington Post explains, “is set by other laws and is often determined by the size of the benefit and the eligible population.” But still, its cuts are deep.
The budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion, paying for that and the infamous border wall by cutting spending for 19 federal agencies, the Post reports. It includes “reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor, and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency,” according to the paper.
It would cut funding for the National Institutes of Health, which do extensive research, by 18 percent, and eliminate all arts and cultural spending. In education, programs for teacher training and work-study assistance for poor students would see reduced budgets, with more money going to school vouchers.
Also, it “would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters,” the Post reports.
Congress generally makes many changes to budgets proposed by presidents, and opposition to Trump’s plan is strong, among Republicans as well as Democrats. “The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told the Post. “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.”
“I think one of the reasons they’re proposing [big spending cuts] is that they know they won’t ever get through Congress,” added Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. “They know they’d be a disaster for their own party if they did. It makes for a great talking point. It actually fits on a tweet.”
Orman urged her readers to lobby Congress against the Trump budget. “You all deserve a life that is better than what these cuts will leave you with,” she wrote, concluding, in all caps, “HERE IS WHAT I SAY TO THIS BUDGET. DENIED.”