News & Politics

Paul Krugman Reveals What's Most Upsetting About Trump's Budget Proposal

It goes beyond cuts to essential programs like Meals on Wheels.

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Donald Trump and the Republican Party have been lying to the American public continuously for the past two years. Now they're attempting to bend reality to their twisted vision. That's the sobering conclusion of New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who argued Friday that the administration's budget proposal "literally isn't worth the paper it's written on."

Krugman believes the proposal — if it can even be called that — is merely a large-scale version of the American Health Care Act, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts would strip 14 million Americans of their coverage next year if passed. "This pseudo-budget," he writes, "embodies the same combination of meanspiritedness and fiscal fantasy that has turned the Republican effort to replace Obamacare into a train wreck." 

As Krugman sees it, the animating force behind this gambit is stupidity as much as malice. Trump is willing to cut all kinds of essential programs, like the Community Block Development Grant, Meals on Wheels and the Appalachian Regional Commission, because he has no idea what functions they serve. The same can be said for supposed wonks like Paul Ryan.

"Mr. Trump himself gives every indication of having no idea what the federal government does; his vaguely budget-like document isn't much more than a roughly scribbled list of numbers, with no clear picture of what those numbers would mean," he writes. "But the reality is that the proposed cuts would have ugly, highly visible effects."

Despite this reality, tens of millions of Americans remain deeply suspicious of "big government." Krugman attributes the phenomenon to right-wing media, which has grossly distorted the amount the U.S. gives in foreign aid, and to the fact that Social Security and Medicare recipients are often unaware they rely on government-sponsored programs for their very survival.

"Voters will quickly get a lesson in what slashing spending really means," he warns, "and they won't be happy."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.

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Jacob Sugarman is the acting managing editor at Truthdig.