A startling trend in Trump’s budget

Joseph Langan

President Trump’s budget proposal is set for some major shake ups. First on Trump’s cutting board are education and health care, making America great by hiking up the cost of living for the working class.

 Subsidized Student Loans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are among the first programs to be axed. If subsidized loans are eliminated, the cost of college will rise considerably due to increased interest costs. Public Service Loan Forgiveness made public servants and nonprofit employees who made payments on time for ten years eligible for loan forgiveness. 

Making college more expensive and harder to benefit from is the opposite direction we need to be going. There are more than two dozen countries that offer tuition-free education, and many more that have extremely cheap universities. We live in the richest nation in the world; continuing to deprive citizens of their right to quality education is a global embarrassment and a national tragedy.

We should be asking for free college education. If Trump can push a 10 percent increase in our bloated military budget with bipartisan approval, we have the cash. The Trump administration is choosing to allocate money to military contractors instead of investing in the American people.

Don’t tell me we don’t have the money for free college education, a standard that is easily met by our allies across the world. The U.S. spends more than the next 10 countries combined on our military. Cutting our wasteful and bureaucratic military spending by a fairly small fraction could pay for all Americans to attend college.

The White House budget calls for tax-deductible contributions to health savings accounts for Medicare beneficiaries, a provision the IRS is currently against. This is like putting a bandaid on a shotgun wound.

Instead of focusing on tax-deductible savings accounts, we need to be conversing about getting all Americans insured and drastically lowering health care costs. There are almost 30 million Americans with no form of health insurance at all, and there are tens of millions more who are significantly underinsured. Even Americans with full coverage are slapped with hefty premiums and many are saddled with inescapable debt. We should be moving toward a universal Medicare For All system where everyone is insured and everyone’s health care costs decrease considerably.

The U.S. is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not have a universal health care system. Yet, we spend substantially more — around 90 percent more — on health care than other developed countries. Despite this, we house some of the sickest people in the industrialized world. Over ⅓ of American children are overweight or obese, a figure that has tripled since 1970. Mental health conditions are getting worse. Even with severe depression, 76 percent of youth are left with no or insufficient treatment.

Trump’s budget punishes Americans who want to better themselves with education and moves the chairs around on the sinking ship that is our health care system. We need to be pushing for free college and free universal health care. If our allies can afford it, why can’t we?

Joseph Langan is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].