Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Donald Trump’s presidency Is Bad for the White Working Class

Donald Trump

Yes, the white working class has been duped by Donald Trump however, his presidency will be an absolute disaster for the white working class, the white poor, and other people who are struggling with money in the US. Lower-income whites are not going to suffer from Trump’s restrictions on Muslims traveling, or from his mass deportations, or from his cavalier attitude toward police brutality. But Trump has promised an economic agenda that will increase the ranks of the uninsured by tens of millions, that will eliminate crucial safety net programs for low- and moderate-income Americans, that could start a trade war that drives up prices and devastates the economy, and that will put in place a tax code that exacerbates inequality and leaves many families with children worse off.

Paul Ryan wants to completely overhaul the safety net for the poor. He will voucherized Medicare, either with or without the option for beneficiaries to keep the traditional program. He offered one of the most extreme Social Security privatization proposals of the 2005-’06 debate on the issue.

But the worst is saved for means-tested programs, in particular Medicaid and food stamps. He would move fast to “block-grant” food stamps and Medicaid, transforming them from guarantees of food and medical care for the nation’s poorest people into a slush fund for states. 69% of the cuts in his last budget came from programs for people with low or moderate incomes, including $137 billion over 10 years from food stamps (now the block grant), up to $125 billion from Pell Grants, and another $150 billion or more from other low-income programs like Supplemental Security Income and the earned income tax credit. Medicaid would be cut by more than a quarter through the block grant. Ryan has sometimes trolled journalists by claiming to support boosting the EITC, only to propose paying for it by cutting other programs for the poor.

These are changes that will dramatically decrease insurance coverage among the poor, increase hunger, and greatly exacerbate poverty in its most extreme form. And while Trump has expressed wariness of tampering with Medicare or Social Security, he has expressed no such hesitation about Ryan’s proposed cuts to programs for the poor.

The Ryan budget has become the key economic agenda of the Republican Party over the past six years. By now it wields substantial, likely majority, support in both houses of Congress, even if Ryan himself does not survive as speaker. And it’s hard to imagine Trump using a veto to prevent these kinds of reforms and cuts from becoming law.

As a result, Trump will likely oversee the most vicious cuts to programs for poor and medium-income people of any president since Reagan and could very well go further than Reagan did. The result will almost certainly be a massive increase in uninsured for the lower-income working people currently covered by Medicaid, an increase in poverty and hunger for the working poor on food stamps, and a large increase in extreme poverty.


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