The Trump budget

Let’s look at some of the highlights of the Trump budget:

For example, the budget would cut $554 billion from Medicare spending over 10 years.

It also would make changes to Medicaid, the health program for lower-income Americans that is funded by the federal government and states. It would create a “market-based health-care grant” that could fund programs in addition to the traditional Medicaid program, a change that would lower Medicaid spending by about $250 billion over 10 years.

One program that would face the biggest reduction is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which is a version of food stamps run by the Agriculture Department. The White House proposes cutting $214 billion from the program over 10 years, although Congress often fights about changing SNAP and rarely has enacted changes.

Kevin Drum adds in some more:

The Post Office loses $4 billion, primarily by giving them “the ability to address their expenses—including the cost of personnel.” In other words, by slashing pay and pensions. Low-income energy assistance is eliminated. Foreign aid is cut $5 billion. PBS funding is eliminated. Ditto for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. HUD loses $9 billion, including a $4 billion cut in rental assistance. Etc. etc.
On the mandatory spending side, the budget proposes cuts of $266 billion to Medicare over ten years. SNAP loses $213 billion. Obamacare is eliminated, of course. “Waste and abuse” will generate savings of $187 billion. Farmers lose $47 billion. Subsidized student loans go away, as does the student loan forgiveness program.

And yet it still increases the deficit by a lot:

The White House projects a large gap between government spending and tax revenue over the next decade, adding at least $7 trillion to the debt over that time. In 2019 and 2020 alone, the government would add a combined $2 trillion in debt under Trump’s plan.

And even to get that they assume very rosy projections that are unlikely to happen.

On the one hand this budget is meaningless since the recently passed budget doesn’t follow this plan, on the other this tells us what the Trump administration wants: massively increase defense spending even though the US easily has the largest defense budget in the world already; cut almost all domestic spending, especially that which goes to the non-rich and science; pass large tax cuts that mostly go to the rich and big corporations even if it explodes the deficit.


Trump weighs in on MeToo, sides with harassers

A couple of men working for the Trump administration have resigned after their ex-wives claimed they abused them, I wonder what President Trump thinks?

‘‘Is there no such thing any longer as due process?’’

‘‘Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone.’’

‘‘We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him,’’ Trump said. ‘‘It was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad.’’

I guess he’s not said about the women? Of course, Trump has been accused several times himself so it’s not surprising which side he’s on.

Trump administration thinks Equifax breach no big deal

So a breach at Equifax meant the personal files on 143 million people was stolen, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority to the CFPB under the Trump administration:

But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget chief. The CFPB effort against Equifax has sputtered since then, said several government and industry sources, raising questions about how Mulvaney will police a data-warehousing industry that has enormous sway over how much consumers pay to borrow money.

Three sources say, though, Mulvaney, the new CFPB chief, has not ordered subpoenas against Equifax or sought sworn testimony from executives, routine steps when launching a full-scale probe. Meanwhile the CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data, an idea backed by Cordray.
The CFPB also recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus, said two sources familiar with the matter.

Now Equifax is being investigated by every state attorney general so they’re going to get punished, but shouldn’t the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau be working to protect the finances of consumers? Of course, Mulvaney thinks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also there to protect the finance companies so maybe he’ll open an investigation into people whose files were stolen–we wouldn’t want them to do something that might hurt Equifax.

Not being PC is treason for Trump

President Trump really doesn’t like it when people don’t genuflect his way:

President Donald Trump mocked Democrats Monday for their stony reactions during his State of the Union speech last week, saying that it was even “treasonous.”

“They were like death and un-American. Un-American. Somebody said, ‘Treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess, why not,” he said to laughter.

“Can we call that treason? Why not,” he added. He made the remarks during a speech at a manufacturing plant in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country that much,” he said, adding it was “very, very sad.”
Trump’s comments came less than a week after he delivered his State of the Union address in which he preached the virtue of bipartisanship.
If you’re not a Trump sycophant then you’re in-American. And just for fun:

Trump’s remarks came during a free-wheeling, highly partisan speech he gave at a factory in Cincinnati on Monday. The speech was billed as official government business, meaning taxpayers footed Trump’s expenses rather than the Republican Party, which is supposed to cover costs when the president is on political business.

The White House insisted the event was not political, even as Trump traveled with Rep. Jim Renacci aboard Air Force One. Renacci, a Republican whose Akron-based district is across the state from Cincinnati, is vying to challenge Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018.

So, he was calling Democrats un-American during a speech where he was bending the rules just a touch. Nice symbolism.

Trump administration admits it cares more about Payday lenders than people

I assume the next step will be to rename the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

The Trump administration has stripped enforcement powers from the leaders of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases, part of a broader effort to reshape an agency it criticized as acting too aggressively.

In 2013, it led the CFPB case that resulted in Ally Financial, one of the nation’s largest automobile lenders, paying $98 million to settle charges that it systematically allowed minorities to be charged more for car loans than whites. Ally was accused of discriminating by charging 235,000 minority borrowers higher rates. On average, black, Hispanic and Asian American customers paid between $200 and just over $300 more for auto loans than whites who were equally creditworthy, federal officials charged.

By the way, conservatives think that was a bad result.

In another sign of the CFPB’s light touch under the Trump administration, the agency has recently taken several steps to dial back pressure on payday lenders — one of the chief targets of the CFPB during the Obama administration. Mulvaney has called for a review of wide-ranging rules finalized by the CFPB last year targeting the billions of dollars in fees collected by payday lenders. The agency also called off a four-year investigation into World Acceptance, a South Carolina-based lender that targets subprime borrowers, and dropped a lawsuit against a group of four online payday lenders associated with an American Indian tribe.

Payday lenders are among the worst of the worst:

Without explanation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has dropped a lawsuit in Kansas it had filed a year ago against four payday lending companies.

The agency had alleged in its lawsuit that the four companies charged interest rates of 440 percent to 950 percent, beyond what several states allow for consumer loans.

Mulvaney definitely wants to change the name:

‘‘We are government employees,’’ he wrote. ‘‘We don’t just work for the government, we work for the people: those who use credit cards and those who provide them.’’

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau works for those who provide credit cards?

Trump supports businesses over workers

Since a law was passed by the Obama administration, the Trump administration is trying to get rid of it (via here):

The proposal rescinds a 2011 rule that asserted tips are the property of workers who earn them. That revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act covered scenarios in which restaurants and other employers supplemented tipped workers’ earnings by paying at least the full minimum wage.
Since the rule’s release in December, worker advocacy groups and Obama administration officials have vehemently opposed it. They point to language that permits companies to keep gratuities for themselves, provided they pay workers at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and don’t apply a tip credit that allows them to pay as little as $2.13 per hour, depending on the state.

What is the Trump argument?

The department has previously defended criticism of the proposal by saying the move would lead to higher pay for some low-wage workers who don’t traditionally earn tips, such as dishwashers. The DOL has also argued that managers would be dissuaded from stealing tips, out of fear of employee turnover and decreased morale. The department further noted that it included in the proposal a qualitative analysis, which doesn’t include dollar figures.

The department decided to study this and found:

Senior department political officials—faced with a government analysis showing that workers could lose billions of dollars in tips as a result of the proposal—ordered staff to revise the data methodology to lessen the expected impact, several of the sources said. Although later calculations showed progressively reduced tip losses, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and his team are said to have still been uncomfortable with including the data in the proposal. The officials disagreed with assumptions in the analysis that employers would retain their employees’ gratuities, rather than redistribute the money to other hourly workers. They wound up receiving approval from the White House to publish a proposal Dec. 5 that removed the economic transfer data altogether, the sources said.

There’s your typical PC action by the Trump administration: they don’t like what something says so they pretend it doesn’t exist. After all Donald Trump says he helps workers so anything that says otherwise must be wrong. Trump cares much more about the perception than the reality, so down the memory hole goes the report.

This might be a reason to vote for Democrats

There have been many articles over the past year wondering how Democrats can get the working class to vote for them. It’s a puzzle:

They thought they were the lucky ones — truck drivers and warehouse workers who counted themselves among the dwindling number of Americans still guaranteed a private pension.

But that promise of a monthly check, once considered ironclad, is now in doubt for more than a million retirees and older workers nationwide, including tens of thousands in Massachusetts and neighboring states. Their underfunded pension plans are creeping toward insolvency, putting benefits they earned over the course of a career at risk of being cut or even eliminated.

A bill to shore up floundering multiemployer plans through federally guaranteed bonds — filed in November by Representative Richard Neal, a Springfield Democrat, and Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat — is being pushed by congressional Democrats and is likely to be part of the wrangling over permanent funding of the federal government.

“It’s a bailout,” said Andy Roth, vice president at the Club for Growth, a group favoring free-market policies and limited government. “Whether it’s a loan or a loan guarantee, you’re putting pressure on the taxpayers to deliver.” Roth said lawmakers should recognize “pensions are an archaic device that should be heading with the dinosaurs into extinction” and not stick taxpayers with the bill.

I wonder how many of those workers voted for Trump?

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: