budget politics

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“The wealthiest family in America gets a $52 billion tax break as a result of the repeal of the Estate tax. Tell the American people why you think that’s good when you cut Medicaid and you cut programs for kids.”

The estate tax in the United States is a tax on the transfer of the estate of a deceased person. If an asset is left to a spouse or a federally recognized charity, the tax usually does not apply. In addition, up to a certain amount varying year by year can be given by an individual, before and/or upon their death, without incurring federal gift or estate taxes: $5,340,000 for estates of persons dying in 2014, $5,430,000 for estates of persons dying in 2015, and $5,450,000 (effectively $10.90 million per married couple) for estates of persons dying in 2016. Because of these exemptions, only the largest 0.2% of estates in the US will have to pay any estate tax. [source]

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Trump is slashing funding to public education, social safety net and domestic programs, but adding to the largest military budget in the world. And the increased funding to Homeland Security and the Veterans Administration is quietly being steered to privately owned, for-profit contractors. And Paul Ryan is eying cuts to Medicare, replacing guaranteed benefits with skimpy little vouchers that won’t cover anything. All this while planning to deregulate the healthcare insurance industry and kick 20 million newly insured people off Obamacare. All so that insurance companies can go back to limiting the healthcare you get while making huge profits off of the sick and elderly.

No matter what they say, this is what Republicans do. This is what they always do. Rob the poor and give to the rich.

Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I’LL TELL YOU what you value. - Joe Biden

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Colin Kaepernick donates $50,000 to Meals on Wheels

  • Colin Kaepernick isn’t done taking a stand for what he believes is right. 
  • After the White House unveiled a budget proposal calling for funding cuts that could hurt Meals on Wheels, the free-agent quarterback donated $50,000 to the cause.
  • The gift to Meals on Wheels, a national organization dedicated to fighting hunger and feelings of isolation among seniors, is the latest in a series of socially conscious donations made by the star athlete. 
  • Following his promise to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to call out police brutality in communities of color, Kaepernick also pledged to donate $1 million of his annual salary to charity.
  • Meals on Wheels thanked Kaepernick via Twitter on Tuesday. Read more (3/22/17 12:14 PM)

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Trump has proposed some NASA budget cuts — and one expert is calling it out

  • If congress agrees with Trump’s latest budget proposal, NASA will have about $561 million less to work with in 2018 than it did in 2017.
  • The difference is fairly small — $561 million accounts for roughly a 3% cut from 2017’s budget.
  • With that said, significant programs will meet the chopping block because of it: NASA’s education program will completely shut down, along with at least four other missions related to studying asteroids or understanding Earth’s changing climate. Read more (5/24/17)

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THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET is a massive transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest—it’s class warfare on steroids. Trump’s budget is a gift, a tax cut for the rich, a giveaway to millionaires and billionaires, literally at the expense of social programs for women, children, the elderly, the disabled, and poor people.

Make no mistake: Republicans are trying to completely eliminate the social safety net, from Universal Healthcare to Medicaid & Medicare, and eventually Social Security.

These cuts aren’t about cost savings — they’re far too small to make even a ding in the federal budget. They are carefully calculated attacks on communities, especially those that promote independent thinking and expression, or didn’t line up behind the Trump movement as it swept to power through the electoral college in November. But the president’s proposed budget also includes attacks on communities that did indeed support Trump but that are too powerless to resist. Among the independent agencies set for elimination: the Appalachian Regional Commission, which supports things such as job training, economic diversification (including the arts), tourism initiatives and Internet access in states like West Virginia, Alabama and Kentucky.
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From our art critic Philip Kennicott: It’s not an attack on the arts, it’s an attack on communities

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Scientists hate Trump’s proposed funding cuts to the National Institutes of Health

  • Republicans and Democrats have finally found something they agree on: President Donald Trump’s proposed $5.8 billion funding cut to the National Institutes of Health is a terrible idea.
  • During a House budget hearing Wednesday, representatives from both sides of the aisle spoke in support of the NIH — and expressed “disappointment” in the dramatic cuts Trump floated in March.
  • “I’m concerned that the reductions in the request would stall progress that our recent investments were intended to achieve and potentially discouraging promising scientists from entering or remaining in biomedical research,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the NIH budget, said.
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), ranking member of the House Appropriations health subcommittee, praised Cole’s bipartisan support for the NIH funding. Read more (5/19/17)

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Trump budget director says food aid programs for kids, elderly not showing “results”

  • White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended proposed cuts to food-aid programs Monday by arguing that there’s scant proof they work.
  • Mulvaney sparked accusations of callousness and hypocrisy in his defense of Trump’s proposed $1.15 trillion budget when he said after-school programs that feed hungry kids don’t have proven impact.
  • “There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, they’re actually helping kids do better in school,” Mulvaney told reporters.
  • The director was similarly bullish on Meals on Wheels, saying it was among programs that “were just not showing any results.”
  • According to CNN, Meals on Wheels served 219.4 million meals in 2015. Read more (3/16/17 6:37 PM)  

PSA: Social Security Disability Insurance IS Social Security. So don’t fall for the okie doke when Republicans try to present it like its not. There isn’t a “good” Social Security and a “bad” one. It’s all the same thing, despite whatever clever lie Republicans might concoct.

So when Donald Trump promised not to make any cuts to Social Security, he was lying—shocking, I know—because Social Security Disability is a very big part of Social Security. It’s the same program.

Paul Ryan would have been a homeless and destitute child if the government didn’t give his father’s SSDI to him and his mother after his father died. (and yeah, I hate Paul Ryan as much as the next guy, but millions of children face the same circumstances he did, and they don’t deserve any cuts to SSDI)

Social Security is not some “unearned entitlement” that the government is “giving away” to undeserving lazy people either. It’s not a government handout. It’s yours. You paid into it. You earned it. Even if you’re an undocumented immigrant. YOU EARNED IT AND IT’S YOURS.

Don’t let anybody take it away from you.

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Trumpcare would cause 24 million people to lose health insurance, according to CBO report

  • The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that the House Republican health care plan will cause 14 million people to lose their health care coverage by 2018. 
  • That number skyrockets to 24 million more uninsured by 2026.
  • Ultimately, by 2026, the number of uninsured Americans would nearly double, rising to 52 million up from 28 million who currently lack insurance under the ACA — breaking Trump’s pledge to provide coverage to all Americans. Read more (3/13/17 4:39 PM)
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The government helps you pay back student debt if you take a public service job — Trump’s budget would end all that

  • The federal government’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness program promises public servants their federal loans would be forgiven after 10 years of consistent repayment. 
  • Since the program began under President George W. Bush in 2007, people who took up jobs including teaching, working as doctors in rural communities, providing legal aid and working for nonprofits could enroll to have their loans forgiven.
  • That program now faces an existential threat: President Donald Trump
  • The president’s first budget, unveiled Tuesday, would end loan forgiveness in exchange for public service. 
  • That would save $859 million — about 7% of what the federal government spends in one day. Without a change to the program, the first loans would be forgiven in October. Read more (5/23/17)
Because of what’s happening with immigration, they want to remain anonymous,” said the executive director of a suburban Maryland community center that works extensively with the undocumented population. She asked that her name and organization be withheld out of concerns that ICE might target it. “They just make do on menial amounts of food. They’re okay with rice and beans. I have parents who won’t even apply for free or reduced-price lunch, because it puts them on the radar.

Things I’m okay with paying for via taxes:

  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Meals on Wheels
  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • WIC
  • The Department of Education
  • The EPA
  • The NYCPD
  • The Affordable Care Act
  • probably more things I just haven’t been made aware of yet which are potentially being taken away

Things I’m not okay with paying for via taxes:

  • Melania living in New York when their family is already incredibly wealthy and could pay for it themselves but are instead planning to use the money for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Building a huge unnecessary border wall