U.S. President Donald Trump released his proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year on Thursday. While the budget has not been passed yet—and its chances of doing so without serious changes are looking pretty slim—the proposal does illuminate Trump's priorities. Namely: he wants a massive cut in domestic spending to help pay for a major boost in military spending.
According to the Washington Post, Trump's budget calls for an extra $54 billion in military spending alongside massive cuts to the EPA, State Department, Agriculture Department, Labor Department, and Department of Health and Human services. The proposal also outright eliminates nineteen federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts. The proposed budget represents an "ideal" for the Trump administration—the hard work of refining and passing it will be left to Congress.
Trump's critics have reacted to the proposal with shock and dismay.
Dan Rather, former news anchor for CBS Nightly News, had this to say:
Rather's Tweet linked to a longer post in which he decried the budget as representing a "philosophy" that doesn't believe in helping the poor, advancing science, promoting the arts, or protecting the environment.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow singled out Trump's cuts to heating assistance, which helps low-income households stay warm in the winter:
Indeed, many are pointing to the heating assistance cuts as especially heartless:
Other users noted the cuts to public broadcasting — cuts that will most notably affect PBS and NPR.
PBS is, of course, the network that produces "Sesame Street" and other programs aimed at educating children. In 2012, Mitt Romney was lambasted for proposing cuts to PBS — Big Bird was even mentioned by name in that year's first presidential debate.
Kyle Griffin, a producer with MSNBC, tweeted an image of a memo sent by Meals on Wheels, another program headed for the chopping block.
Meals on Wheels provides millions of meals each year to seniors in need. Responding to the proposed cuts, spokesperson Jenny Bertolette told CNN: "It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which they will not be significantly and negatively impacted if the President's budget were enacted."
Some folks were pleased with the budget, however, notably those in the defense sector. And the official Department of Homeland Security sent out several tweets highlighting the benefits to DHS:
Other Twitter users voiced approval as well.
And yet the vast majority of commenters — on all parts of the political spectrum — seem dissatisfied with the budget as proposed.
Again, Trump's proposed budget will likely not make it through Congress unchanged. But the budget reveals the kind of country the Trump administration wants to build. As Dan Rather puts it, "it is an opening salvo in a battle for the soul of America."