War And The Poor


poor-1It is fitting that while President Trump traveled the world, sealing a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, he would drop his own kind of bomb on the American people: his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, titled, of course, “The New Foundation for American Greatness.” “This Budget’s defining ambition is to unleash the dreams of the American people,” Trump writes in his 62-page plan. Trump’s dream for America is a nightmare for the working class. The budget proposes deep cuts to government support for the poor, including slashing over $800 billion from Medicaid, $192 billion from food assistance, $272 billion from welfare programs, $72 billion from disability benefits, and ending programs that provide financial support for poor college students. While cutting government assistance for working class Americans, the budget notably beefs up annual military spending by 10 percent, to the tune of $639 billion. The U.S. defense budget is already roughly the size of the next 11 largest national military budgets combined. Trump’s budget aims to go bigger, laying the groundwork “for a larger, more capable, and more lethal joint force [and] warfighting readiness.” Such readiness involves 56,400 more troops across the armed forces and 84 new fighter plans.

Trump wants additional funding to make sure that the U.S. military “remains the world’s preeminent fighting force” so that “we can continue to ensure peace through strength.” While slashing cuts for the poor and expanding military spending, the budget also proposes $2.6 billion for building the notorious wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and widely increasing the number of border patrol agents and immigration enforcement officials.

Support for massive U.S. military spending is a bi-partisan tradition in American politics, as the War Resisters League (WRL), a longstanding U.S. anti-war organization, points out in their annual analysis of the U.S. military budget. “When it comes to military spending, it really doesn’t matter who’s in office.

poor-2The President and Congress are always willing to give the Pentagon more money,” the WRL states in their most recent report. Each year, taxpayers turn over billions “for wars that breed more wars, weapons systems that even the Pentagon doesn’t want, drones that kill hundreds of innocent children, and bases and troops in countries they’ve never heard of.” “It’s your money,” the WRL report explains. “Is this how you want it spent?”

We know how Trump wants to spend it: by funding global war and building a racist wall. “We have it in our power to set free the dreams of our people,” Trump writes in his budget. “Let us begin.” Let us begin by rejecting Trump’s budget and saying no more war on the backs of the poor.

Z

Benjamin Dangl has a PhD in history from McGill University and is the editor of TowardFreedom.com, a progressive perspective on world events.