President Donald Trump’s budget leaves his loyal voters hungry for more — literally.
“A New Foundation for American Greatness” proposes a $4.6 million cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, for fiscal year 2018. The cut will reach its peak in 2026 at $26.1 million.
The Department of Defense will see a $639 billion budget — an increase of $52 billion, or 10.1 percent.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Fact Sheet released in April 2016, the United States spends significantly more than any other nation on military expenditures. In 2015 the U.S. spent $596 billion. This is more than the next seven nations — China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France and Japan — combined.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Trump’s so-called budget for the taxpayer neglects those who helped put him into office. Of the 10 states that rely most on food stamps, seven of them voted for Trump: Louisiana, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
The budget also proposes a 20.5 percent decrease in funding for the Department of Agriculture — one of the largest cuts by percentage for any other agency.
“The president is essentially abandoning many people the economy has left behind — a large number of whom voted for him — and is pursuing policies that would make their lives more difficult than they already are,” said Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Trump’s rural supporters already share a large concern about their economic future, with 69 percent saying that “jobs in their community are hard to find,” according to Pew Research Center. And 1 in 3 people in rural areas already report living paycheck to paycheck. According to exit polls, the president’s victory can largely be attributed to rural America, 61 percent of which voted for Trump.
A variety of programs aimed at safety for farmers and that serve as financial security nets for farm workers are being cut.
Crop insurance eligibility would be limited to $500,000 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Crop insurance is what protects farmers when they lose their crops to natural disasters or when they lose money the prices of their products decrease. The budget also eliminates the Harvest Price Option (HPO), which, if farmers opt in, guarantees farmers receive the highest price for their crop, whether it is the price at harvest or the projected price at the beginning of the season.
The National Farmworker Jobs Program will also no longer exist. The program’s goal is to combat the chronic unemployment and underemployment faced by those in the agricultural industry.
Also eliminated is the Rural Economic Development Program. This program provides no interest loans in rural areas that can be used to establish projects in order to create and retain employment.
The budget also eliminates the Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans program, a program that helps low- and very-low-income people obtain housing in rural areas.
The proposed cuts “will leave rural and urban farmers, low-income families, and taxpayers more vulnerable,” Mike Lavender, senior Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists, told ThinkProgress.
And agricultural research programs would face steep cuts as well.
“The budget would slash funding for key agricultural research and conservation programs, undermining the ability of farmers to sustain their land and their livelihoods for the future,” Lavender also said.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also seeing significant cuts, as predicted, with a 13.2 percent decrease in budget. This includes eliminating entirely the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The Small Cities CDBG falls under this program and is specifically designed to help low- and moderate-income members of rural communities obtain “decent housing, a suitable living environment and economic opportunities.”
Choice Neighborhoods, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program Account are all being eliminated.
Additionally, the budget proposes cuts of over $600 billion to Medicaid over the course of a decade — in addition to, it seems, the over $800 billion cut proposed by the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The budget turns the program into a block grant or per capita program, which will inevitably decrease or even eliminate benefits for some recipients. About 74.6 million Americans receive Medicaid or are recipients of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
“This budget will devastate Pennsylvanians living in rural communities by decimating Medicaid and cutting vital economic development programs,” said Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania — another state that voted for Trump.
Social Security is also seeing cuts to its disability program.
“Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it,” Trump had said previously.
But the disabilities portion apparently doesn’t count.
“If you ask 990 people out of a thousand, they’d tell you Social Security disability is not part of Social Security,” according to Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).