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Yesterday, President Trump released his budget request for 2021 and beyond. It extends tax cuts for the wealthy, dramatically increases immigration enforcement funding, and cuts health care, retirement security, education, housing, environmental protections, safety net services and more.
The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
President Trump’s newly-released budget embodies the Trump presidency: demonize immigrants to give white grievance voters someone to blame for their troubles so they will be distracted as he gives billions in tax cuts to the wealthy while slashing billions in healthcare, retirement security and education for the rest of us.
Once called the ‘Southern strategy,’ it’s been a staple of the GOP’s playbook for the past 60 years. Just some of the issues that have been shamelessly exploited include crime, welfare, school prayer, affirmative action, gender equality, reproductive rights, marriage equality, trans equality, and immigration.
As President Lyndon B. Johnson ruefully pointed out in the 1960s : ‘If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.’
Trump’s demonization and dehumanization of immigrants are particularly raw and cynical. He incites his followers with talks of dark-skinned criminals, murderers and rapists. Yes, cruelty is the point. And it has a purpose. It’s race-baiting in the service of plutocracy.
With his budget blueprint for a second term, President Trump is asking American taxpayers to spend billions to prosecute his war on immigrants: build a stupid and ineffective border wall that he promised Mexico would pay for; separate families through cruel and chaotic deterrence measures; lock up immigrants in squalid and life-threatening conditions in record numbers; dramatically increase the size, authority and impunity of his deportation agents; and more. Meanwhile, he slashes billions from health care, retirement security, education, housing, clean air, safe drinking water, food security and aid to the disabled.
This cynical strategy is at the heart of Trump’s ongoing effort to hang onto power by dividing us along racial and ethnic lines and distracting voters from radical policies that line the pockets of the super wealthy while picking the pockets of the average citizen.
As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes:
President Trump is cruelly working overtime to gut health care for millions of Americans — while simultaneously demanding that we spend billions on the wasteful, useless, hateful border wall that he vowed to make Mexico pay for. If Democrats are looking for campaign arguments against Trump, that juxtaposition is one place to start. It highlights two big issues on which Trump stands in opposition to majority opinion.
Evidence that Trump’s budget is a political disaster: This Obama-Trump voter (who voted D in ‘18) was upset that Trump is spending tax dollars on the wall instead of protecting her retirement. And I heard similar retirement worries from multiple voters in this focus group.
Below is additional background on the wall and immigration sections of the new Trump budget