May 23, 2017

Trump’s Budget Proposal and Tax Plan Are the Antithesis of Populism

press release

Following is a statement by Alan Essig, executive director of ITEP, regarding President Trump’s budget proposal released today. The proposal, which calls for dramatically cutting funding for health insurance, food assistance, support for people living with disabilities, and other damaging changes, comes one month after the president released a tax sketch that would overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthy and increase annual deficits.

“A month ago, President Trump released a tax sketch that likely would redistribute wealth upward, and today he has poured salt on the wound with a proposed budget that would gut safety net programs and cut funding for other services that help move people out of poverty. Yet the PR refrain is the same Orwellian prattle we’ve been hearing for years: water isn’t wet, tax cuts for the rich will eventually trickle down to the rest of us, and balancing the federal budget must always rely on cutting programs that benefit ordinary people. The Trump Administration’s proposed draconian cuts to domestic programs and tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy are the antithesis of populism.

“In a speech last week defending proposed cuts to domestic programs, Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reportedly said, ‘I think we’ve trained people to be immune to the true costs of government.’

“The fact is that people understand just fine that government costs. But for decades, supply-side ideologists have successfully peddled the erroneous idea that top-heavy tax cuts come without a cost. And when it comes to policy discourse over balancing the nation’s budget, these same forces insist working people must always make the sacrifices in the form of reduced funding for critical domestic programs while tax breaks for the rich and corporations are sacrosanct and must never be touched.

“Trump’s budget and tax proposals are a recipe for economic stagnation and a blueprint for further widening the economic divide between the rich and the rest of us, not, as the budget claims, ‘a new foundation for American greatness.’”