Analysis by Reporting San Diego
March 17, 2017 (San Diego) The budget as released will not be the final budget. However, the budget as released has to be treated as a revolutionary document. The government of the United States was taken over by a coterie of right-wing white supremacist. It is in this sense that the budget makes sense.
This is a lens that will mostly be missing from major media we contend that major media still believes the rules of the past still apply. They do not.
Withdrawal from the World
This is the first broad stroke major element. The budget seeks to pull the United States out of the world order of the 20th century. This is the world we created, and we have benefited greatly from. It is through American participation in the Security Council, and other bodies of the United Nations, that the country influences events abroad.
It is through them that the United States at times controls developments. Arguably, it is the UN that has prevented another European war. For example, Kosovo had potential to lead to a major conflagration. It was the gravitas provided by both the North Atlantic Alliance and the UN this was prevented.
This budget not only cuts foreign aid beyond the bone but signals to the world we are pulling back. There are winners of course. The United States is not one of them. The winners will be both the emerging powers of the Russian Federation and China. With the US withdrawing, these two world powers will step forth and fill that vacuum. Russia will increasingly be more relevant, while the US less.
This is also a group that believes in bilateral agreements at best. Breton Woods and the United Nations are the epitome of multilateral international, global organizations. They are anathema for the revolutionaries at the White House.
There is another thing they squandered. The United States negotiated the Paris Climate Change agreement, just as we signed onto the Tokyo protocols. We have pulled back from both after Republican president were elected. Our word in the international arena will have not much weight any longer. The cuts in diplomacy match our words.
Cuts to Social Services
The people in the White House, and many Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan, believe the 20th century was a mistake. Democracy and safety nets are what slows the country and prevent us from fulfilling the vision of the Founders. This includes limiting the vote to homeowners. This is precisely what the Founders did. The vote was for white, wealthy, land owners.
So what about Meals on Wheels? Back in that era of American history, there was no real safety net. The government had no role in this. So removing the safety net, to paraphrase Mick Mulvaney that Meals on wheels and after school food programs for kids have no results, one has to understand the philosophy behind this. It is not that they are heartless, at least they do not see it that way. These programs keep people alive on the government dole they should be helped, perhaps, but only by private charity.
This is a vision of a country where the poor are poor not because there is a structure that keeps people poor. But because they are morally corrupt. When seen through this lens, this budget makes sense. If you conceive of the government as an institution that should only engage in defense, then the safety net of the 20th century makes no sense. Bannon has gone further than that. He has cast his role as one who will deconstruct the government.
He said about regulation:
“Every business leader we’ve had in is saying not just taxes, but it is also the regulation. I think the consistent if you look at these Cabinet appointees, they were selected for a reason, and that is the deconstruction. The way the progressive left runs is, if they can’t get it passed, they’re just going to put in some sort of regulation in an agency. That’s all going to be deconstructed, and I think that that’s why this regulatory thing is so important.”
This also applies to the welfare state. The liberal state of the 20th century is evil in the mind of the revolutionaries in Washington, just as evil as the regulatory state.
In this sense cuts to regulatory agencies also make sense. The Environmental Protection Agency is the epitome of this.
The Arts and Basic Research
This budget also is a wrecking ball to the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Public Radio. Never mind these programs are even smaller than foreign aid, that is not the point. The point is that they are part of a liberal system. They need to be destroyed for that reason alone.
NPR is also part of the media. The administration does not see the media as having a legitimate place in American culture. They went to war early in the campaign. Whether the press was called the dishonest media, or the lying press or fake news, it is an enemy nonetheless. So the budget makes perfect sense.
What about science? The National Institutes of Health but in particular earth science, are getting gutted. We will face a generation where research will not be done. However, there is a danger. This is not just a revolutionary government, but an authoritarian one. In the 20th century, we had the rise of Nazi Science and Soviet Science. Both behaved within the confines of the state. Do we see the beginnings of Trump Science?
With our pull back from climate change agreements we also seem to be pulling back from that research. If you believe all that is bunk, then whatever extractive companies put out will be fine. The silence of all other research might be coming.
This is why this budget is not just a moral document, but a revolutionary one.
Those of us who were paying attention to Trumpism over the last almost 24 months are not surprised. Mulvaney was correct when he said that people voted for this. I doubt the poor in Appalachia understood they were voting for this, but they did.