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Trump Fiscal Proposals Should Call Democrats to Action, by Mark Erickson

U.S. President Donald Trump walks from Marine One as he returns to the White House in Washington, U.S., March 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

President Trump unveiled his budget in May. As a candidate, Mr. Trump promised to protect entitlement programs, claiming he has a “big heart.” Guess what? Trump’s budget is irresponsible and unethical by putting the most vulnerable at risk of significant health and financial problems for the benefit of putting more money into the pockets of the already ultra-wealthy. His budget guts SNAP (aka food stamps), Meals on Wheels, and Pell Grants. The proposed deep cuts to Social Security and Medicaid actually target Trump voters.

Bloomberg Business Week examined the ten counties with the highest percentage of working adults who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) against exit polls. SSDI is funded through payroll taxes (FICA). If an “insured” person has made FICA contributions over a certain number of years, become disabled, and is under 65 years old, he/she becomes eligible for SSDI. After two years, the person will become eligible for Medicare. Of the ten counties, eight appear to be in the Appalachian region (three in Virginia, three in Kentucky, and two in West Virginia). The other two include Lewis County in Idaho and Wilcox County in Alabama. Excluding Wilcox, all nine of the overwhelmingly white counties voted for Trump with no figure lower than 70%. The two counties with the highest rate of SSDI recipients, i.e., Dickinson VA (20.2%) and Buchanan VA (19.7%) voted for Mr. Agent Orange at rates of 77% and 79%, respectively.

Agent Orange’s ten year budget cuts hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid (and the related Children’s Health Insurance Program), which is the 50+ year government health plan for the poor. “These cuts that are being proposed are Draconian”, said GOP Rep. Harold Reynolds who represents a poor district in eastern Kentucky. The Chicago Tribune reported on July 9 that “622 of the 780 counties where a majority of children are on Medicaid and CHIP have populations of less than 50,000. Most of the counties are overwhelmingly white with the exception” being the Mississippi Delta and in the Rio Grande Valley. Last month I came across this personal story written by a “holler” who grew up on food stamps: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/12/rural-appalachia-healthcare-crisis-medicaid-

Am I surprised by Trump’s about-face? Absolutely not. Remember his quip? “I love the poorly educated!” I still cannot fathom how many people drank the kool-aid, including the fact that 53% of Caucasian women voted for the orange oompa-loompa. My follow Democrats: We face a tough fight in 2018! We cannot rely solely on Trump’s outrageous executive orders, radical right-wing agenda, and dangerous nominees to turn the tide. Get off your seat, get on your feet, and head into the street!

Mark Erickson

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