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Trump’s budget would eviscerate the social safety net but provide welfare for the rich

  March 12, 2019 | By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

Much of the news coverage of President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget, which was released Monday, focuses on two aspects.

One: It’s just a PR exercise, since presidential budgets never get enacted. Two: Trump’s demand for $8.6 billion to build his border wall sets up a new conflict with Congress and maybe another government shutdown.

What shouldn’t fly under the radar, however, are the huge cuts to social safety net programs embedded in the document’s 150 appalling pages. These include drastic reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—which Trump always promised to protect from any cuts—and to food stamps, housing assistance and family assistance.

Some of the support for social programs trumpeted by the budget document turn out to be largely mythical. Trump boasts of his determination to “defeat the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”

But as Lindsey Dawson of the Kaiser Family Foundation points out, the cuts and limitations he’s proposing to Medicaid would undermine care for HIV patients, 41% of whom get their health coverage via that program. And the $3.5-billion appropriation for the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which Trump claims would “continue the United States’ position as the world’s top HIV/AIDS donor,” actually represents a cut of nearly 20% from 2019 funding, which is $4.34 billion.

A family leave program touted by Ivanka Trump is another myth. It would require families claiming benefits to give up some of their Social Security benefits in return, which we identified last year as a terrible idea.

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