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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 3/19/17

Trump's Budget Is A Deeply Radical Scheme -- The Press Should Say So

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From Media Matters


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President Donald Trump has seemingly spent his first months in office working to debunk the tired media narrative that he is somehow a "populist." The proposed budget released by the Trump White House this week should put another nail in the coffin of the "populist" trope.

It's a $1.1 trillion blueprint to effectively eviscerate some government agencies, and one that rips away huge sections of the country's social safety net in a way that hasn't been attempted before in modern American history.

And no, the dark and disturbing budget proposal is definitely not "populist." (Definition: "To represent the interests of ordinary people.") Not when you consider that its dystopian goals include:

*Abolishing the Department of Housing and Urban Development block grant program that helps fund Meals on Wheels for the elderly.

*Gutting a program "that helps poor families pay their heating bills."

*Eliminating a State Department program "which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters."

*Ending a Labor Department initiative that "has helped more than 1 million people 55 and older find jobs."

*Getting rid of the Department of Transportation subsidy that supports flights to rural airports.

*Abolishing the environmental cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.

So no, Trump's not a "populist."

The good news? Media outlets did a solid job detailing all of the massive cuts included in Trump's sweeping proposal. The downside was the radical cuts were sometimes couched as being not that unusual.

You'd never understand the radical nature of Trump's budget by reading this CNN lede:

"President Donald Trump released a $1.1 trillion budget outline Thursday that proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending and corresponding cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the wholesale elimination of other federal programs."

This budget proposal represents the administration's extremist, even fanatical, priorities, and it ought to be covered that way, without apology.

How else do you describe a budget that slashes the State Department's spending by nearly one-third, the National Institutes of Health's budget by nearly one-fifth, and reduces the Environmental Protection Agency's funding to its lowest levels in four decades? The budgetary slaughter goes on and on and on.

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Eric Boehlert is the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006). He worked for five years as a senior writer for Salon.com, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a (more...)
 

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