Economic Issues

The Trump Administration is Determined to Sink the Economy, Grandma First

To all those elderly who worked hard to make a decent life for themselves and their families, many of who served our country to protect the freedoms we (at least for the time being) enjoy, the Trump administration wants to thank them for all their contributions to society by ensuring they have as short a life as possible.

Trump and his cabal have taken aim at the most vulnerable in our country: the elderly and poor.  There is absolutely no good reason for it, apart from greed and abject cruelty.  

A total $54 billion in cuts is being proposed to help pay for the absurd additions to an already obscenely bloated military budget. Do we really need more money to spend on bombs to drop on the starving people in Yemen? Or to further develop our nuclear arsenal, which is already large enough to kill most of humanity and render the earth completely uninhabitable?

Among Trump’s proposed budget cuts: Meals on Wheels, as part of the disappearing $6.2 billion Community Development Block Grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to Time, “In a 2014 bipartisan resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Community Development Block Grant program, Congress noted that between 2005 and 2013, the program provided services to over 100 million Americans and created or maintained 330,500 jobs.” Meals on Wheels served 2.4 million homebound seniors in 2016.

If the administration is truly concerned about saving money it doesn’t need, they’re going about it the wrong way. The Republicans are penny wise and pound foolish. According to Portland, Oregon’s Meals on Wheels People, it costs about $2,500 to feed an elderly person daily meals for a year, whereas it costs about $60,000 a year for that same person to be cared for in an institution.

In addition to starving them, grandma and grandpa can freeze to death as well. Trump plans to cut the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which allows low-income families, particularly the elderly on a limited budget, to heat their homes in the winter. Over 6 million people rely on this assistance each year to provide heat to their homes. Better go buy grandma and grandpa some thick wool blankets!

No, We Are Not Broke

This administration obviously has no understanding of economics. As the sole issuer of the US dollar, the US government does not need to raise money to fund any Federal program. Year in and year out, Congress decides on a budget, the president signs it, and dollars are released into the economy to pay for the approved programs. This has no relation whatsoever to Federal income taxes.

Have you ever heard anyone in government ask where we are going to get the money to pay for the $1.45 trillion F-35 project? Of course not. Congress knows they just need to approve the money to pay for it. There is little debate when it comes to funding the military industrial complex because most of those pulling the strings of government have huge investments in the military industrial complex, and they’ve been raking in the dough. All that public money is ending up in private pockets.

As for feeding grandma, who is unable to get out to shop for food or cook for herself? There’s no money to be made in that. Or paying for grandpa’s heart medication, without which he is likely to die? Like a modern Ebenezer Scrooge, the Republicans’ attitude is “If he’s likely to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

A Balanced Budget is Economic Suicide

What is really frightening is the Republicans’ insistence on passing a balanced budget amendment. Now if there is one thing guaranteed to bankrupt everyone in the country, it’s that.

Just where do they think the dollars in people’s pockets come from? You know that “National Debt Clock” in Times Square noting the “National Debt” and “Your Family’s Share”? That’s the amount of money the government has spent into the economy to pay for things like your job, your children’s schools, production of food so Americans don’t face empty supermarket shelves, hospitals, roads, bridges — this money is what keeps the economy running. It’s not a “debt clock,” it’s an “asset clock”!

The idea that the US government, who issues the currency, is in debt to itself is absurd. Yet they keep promoting this lie so they can more easily kill grandma and grandpa because they are no longer productive members of society working to put profits in the pockets of large corporations.

A balanced budget amendment would essentially say you have to return your entire salary every year because for some reason it has no ability to create dollars, even though the US government the sovereign issuer of the US dollar. Does that make sense to any rationally thinking human being?

The US government’s budget is nothing like a household budget. Do you have the ability to create your own currency, one that someone else will accept? Not likely. The government creates dollars as needed, and the main reason to cerate them is to stimulate the economy to ensure the needs of its citizens are met. Are our needs being met? Given the lack of affordable health care, education, and a real unemployment rate of close to 10%, I think not.

Imagine what would happen if the Republicans actually enacted a balanced budget. Programs would be cut, meaning little money would be created and spent into the economy. Soon, people start losing their jobs. Then, because they have no jobs they have no money to spend, so local businesses start to shut down, unemployment increases, companies lose money, recession hits, and soon a depression occurs. The wealthy and the oligarchs don’t care because they’ve got more than enough money for 10 lifetimes; money they skimmed off the working people during more than 40 years of neoliberal economic policy.

The Democrats will wring their hands and shed crocodile tears about the plight of the poor working person (assuming there are any), while simultaneously making deals with the oligarchs that keep them in office.

Instead of doing its job to stimulate the economy for the benefit of all, the Trump administration wants to shift all spending to the private sector, impoverishing the poor and middle-class so corporations can profit from the real needs of everyday Americans.

In other developed countries, for example, health care is paid for or heavily subsidized by the government. It’s not a for-profit operation. People pay either nothing or only a nominal cost toward their care because it’s considered a human right. Doctors and hospitals in those countries are not going broke; at the same time, they are not raking in huge profits at the expense of their citizenry. The elderly frequently get home visits from their doctor, and they never have to pay for their prescription medicines.

It’s the government’s job to care for its people. That’s why we have a government. Above all, it’s supposed to care for the most vulnerable among us, such as the poor, children, and the elderly. Not only is the Trump administration not doing its job, it is openly and viciously doing all in its power to get rid of those who are not useful to their unbridled greed. This administration is dangerous, and must be stopped before it destroys our country.

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