Working towards peace and sustainability

Trump’s Budget: What’s Wrong Here?

In March the Trump administration submitted their proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget. It lays out their priorities. Peaceworks views their proposal as severely misdirected on multiple fronts.  We invite you to consider their FY20 proposal and our responses and make your own decisions. We also encourage you to make your concerns and preferences known to your U.S. rep and senators.

Social Security:

The Trump budget cuts Social Security by $25 billion over the next decade.

We Say: While this is a relatively minor cut, we need to strengthen, not cut, this critical social insurance program that virtually all retirees depend on. While the system is well funded over the next decade, for long-term sustainability, we should be lifting the cap that allows those with really large incomes to avoid paying their fair share.


Trump campaigned on not cutting this essential program, but is now seeking to cut $845 billion over the next decade.

We Say: This is a major cut and is unacceptable. We should, instead be pursuing Medicare for All, saving billions by removing the for-profit insurance companies, reining in the exorbitant prices that Big Pharma charges us, and gaining efficiency by establishing a single-payer system along the lines of the Canada’s.


Trump also promised no cuts here, but is now proposing cuts of nearly $1.5 trillion over 10 years. This includes removing all who were added via the ACA Medicaid expansion.

We Say: Medicaid is an essential safety net program and should not be cut. It helps those who have no other way to pay for their healthcare. In addition to serving low-income people of all ages, Medicaid covers nursing home care for those who have no funds left to pay for it.

Environment and Energy:

Trump is proposing slashing the budgets of those agencies that work to address the climate crisis and other threats of our environment. The administration budget calls for a 31 percent cut in the $8.8 billion EPA budget. Likewise, it calls for a 25.4 percent cut in the $20.4 billion non-weapons portion of the Dept. of Energy budget.

We say:  Our security and our very survival depend on addressing the existential threat presented by the climate crisis. The Pentagon recognizes the threat and in their 2018 National Defense Strategy they state: “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue . . .”

The National Climate Assessment, produced by hundreds of experts with input from 13 federal agencies on Trump’s watch, acknowledges that the climate is “changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization,” that its impacts are being felt and that they “are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions . . .”

The Trump administration, however, is AWOL; in denial. They are not only failing to address this critical concern, but are pursuing policies that, while they might increase short-run profits for the fossil fuel industry, seriously exacerbate the crisis.

To respond to these threats we need to equivalent of an Apollo Project. That’s exactly what a Green New Deal would be, the investment of hundreds of billions in both public and private funds each year to facilitate the transition to a socially just, sustainable, clean energy-fueled economy. 

Military Spending:

After dramatically increasing the military budget their first two years in office, the administration is back, asking for an additional $34 billion for FY20, an increase of 4.7 percent. This is double the increase the Pentagon had requested. The proposed budget includes a major increase in funds for Overseas Contingency Operations and $104 billion for military research and development. The latter includes hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence systems (including cyber-warfare and automated battlefield weapons), and “space-based technologies.” They also call for funding a new, sixth branch of the military, a U.S. Space Force.

Trump is allocating $750 billion, 57 percent of the $1.3 trillion discretionary budget into the military and nuclear weapons. This does not include nearly $200 billion funding for Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, intelligence black budget, the State Dept. and international affairs, all of which are part of the national security state. Nor does it include servicing the debt, much of which was incurred through the bloated military spending of past years. When all this is put together, the cost of present, past and future wars incurred this year alone would be well more than a trillion dollars.

We Say:  The military budget should be pruned, not expanded. If Trump’s budget was passed, the U.S. would be spending as much on our military as the 2018 military spending of the next 14 countries combined—China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Israel and Iraq. Note that most of these countries are U.S. allies.

Peaceworks opposes a new nuclear arms race. We oppose the weaponization of space. And we support efforts to move toward mutual, verifiable, incremental and universal disarmament. As the nation with the world’s largest military and the track record of being most militarily aggressive, it behooves us to take the lead in moving forward an international system based upon mutual security and the conversion of militaries into defensive, rather than offensive forces during the transition to a world at peace.

Other Cuts:

The administration is proposing cutting almost every other department, in many cases, making very dramatic cuts. These include a 22 percent cut in spending on transportation, a 16 percent cut in affordable housing, a 23 percent cut to the State Department, a 12 percent cut to the Dept. of Education, a 10 percent cut in the Labor Dept. and the list goes on. It also includes a ten-year cut of $220 billion to Food Stamps (SNAP).

We say: Spending on people is more an investment than an expense. A population that has the opportunity to obtain quality education, access to what’s needed to foster good health and to be productive members of our society increases our productivity and makes for a higher quality of life for all of us. Programs such as these benefit society at large, and each of us, directly or indirectly.

The Border:

One other area the Trump administration is aiming to increase funding is border security. They are proposing to spend $8.6 billion in FY20 just on construction of the Trump border wall. This is in addition to funds being spent on agents, technology, incarceration and transportation of migrants and refugees, etc.

We say: We would rather see a Marshall Program for Central America that would address the grinding poverty and violence that is leading to tens of thousands of people to flee each month. A wall will not effectively stop the flow of people headed north. Changing conditions in their countries of origin will. 


Donald Trump claims to be putting America First, but, in fact, he’s putting corporate America and the uber-wealthy first and then aiming to divide and dominate the working people of this country. Peaceworks prioritizes peace, justice and sustainability. We see a positive role for our government to play in leveling the playing field and ensuring abundant opportunity for all, as well as a robust safety net that won’t allow millions of us to fall through and end up in desperate situations. We also recognize that to effectively address the climate crisis we need our federal government to make this a top national security priority.

If you agree with our priorities, we strongly urge you to make your voice heard. We also invite your active participation in our work. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more regarding getting involved. We can be reached via mail@midmopeaceworks.org or 573-875-0539.