By Carlton Joseph
release of the Republican Congress Health Care Plan and the Trump Administration Budget reveal the major pillars of the current US Administration: Corporate greed, militarism and racism.
The Republican Congress and Trump Administration, in their futile attempt to erase the Presidency of Mr. Obama from the history books, have presented the “American Health Care Act.” They hope that by repealing the “Affordable Care Act,” Mr. Obama’s signature legislation will be totally erased, and as far as they are concerned his tenure at the White House would have been a temporary “bump in the road” in the history of America. In their collective racists minds, he will have accomplished nothing during his eight years as President.
What they do not comprehend is that History is not that simple. In fact, it is more complex than the Health Care program they are trying to repeal and replace. History will record that Obama became President during the worst depression since the Great Depression with unemployment at 10 per cent, and when he left office unemployment was at 5 per cent. It will also record that he implemented a Health Care Plan that gave 20 million people health care that was then taken away by the racist Republicans. Their role in history would be as racists who destroyed the health of the people of the country by embracing their antiquated, obsolete views.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan organization has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process. Next year (2018) 14 million fewer Americans will have insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced on the terms the president is seeking. CBO estimates that. if implemented ,would increase the number of people without health insurance by 21 million by 2020, and 24 million in 2026. By 2026, the total number of uninsured Americans would reach 52 million.
The way insurance works best is if everyone buys it, so exempting young people from purchasing it, in the name of personal freedom, makes no sense. If we follow this logic, young people or probably everyone, should be able to drive a car without insurance, in the name of personal freedom. It is obvious that they do not want the ACA to work when they repeal the penalty for young people not buying insurance. This repeal shifts the expense to older people by allowing insurers to charge five times more for older enrollees than younger ones, rather than three times, as permitted under the ACA.
The plan provides a 600 billion dollar tax cut over 10 years for wealthy Americans, because they would no longer be subject to the taxes that pay for the health care subsidies. When the tax cuts for the rich and the spending cuts to Medicaid are combined, they would result in deficit reduction of $337 billion by 2026. The CBO explains that the savings is a small fraction of the national debt in exchange for an enormous amount of human misery.
Trump’s budget proposes: 52billion increase for the Defense Department, 2.8 billion increase for Homeland Security, 4.4 billion increase for Veteran Affairs. All other agencies had their funding decreased. Hardest hit were: Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) 15.1 billion; State Department 10.9 billion; Education 9.2 billion; Housing 6.2 billion; Agriculture 4.7 billion.
Significant increase in Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs, and reduction of funding for State Department indicates that the focus of this administration would be on using America’s military might instead of diplomacy in the conduct of international disputes. This is a Department of Warfare budget, not a Department of Defense budget.
Significant reduction of funding for Education, Housing, Health and Agriculture shows total contempt for everything domestic that deals with the improvement of society in general. Negatively impact Education by eliminating grants, teacher training, afterschool programs and aid to low income and minority students. Voucher programs will move public education monies to private enterprise. Since there are not enough private schools to accommodate all of the children in public schools, public schools will suffer. HHS will feel negative impacts through the elimination of research in some areas. Negatively impact the Environment by eliminating programs and jobs. Negatively impact DOJ by targeting inner cities youths for incarceration. The cut in funding for HUD will put tremendous strain on housing authorities across the country, which manage public housing and rely heavily on federal funding. This would force poor people out of subsidized units and enable private enterprise to purchase distressed multiunit housing buildings at heavily discounted prices.
The Trump administration’s proposal calls for eliminating four cultural agencies and their collective $971 million budgets. Most of the funds support nonprofit groups across the country, such as dance companies, radio stations, orchestras and theaters. This disrespect for arts and culture probably comes for his belief that African American culture and arts have too much influence on America. The Oscars, Grammies and other award programs should be white only and defunding these programs would mean the death of minorities in the music industry, movies and theatre
Finally, the Republican and Trump administration have revealed their agenda for America. Military force to settle all economic or political disputes, America’s corporate greed and economic dominance of the world through laissez-faire capitalism would be the order of the day, and racism and religious hatred would be the cornerstone of this 21st century dictatorship.
Canada and Mexico should take note since they share borders with the USA. Mr. Trump is determined to build the wall on the Mexican border. The USA and Canada have a number of trade agreements, and Americans have invested heavily in Canada. In Trump’s world, it could mean his way or military force. Diplomacy is out.
(Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph is a close observer of political developments in the United States.)