How Trump’s Budget Proposal Could Affect Average Citizens and the Country’s Hegemony - Facultad de Derecho

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How Trump’s Budget Proposal Could Affect Average Citizens and the Country’s Hegemony

Kathleen Priscilla Carbajal Mezarina

After the US elections in November 2016, the results of the Electoral College shocked people around the world. Trump’s way of capturing his target audience has convinced people that the United States needed a radical change, even if it meant electing a candidate with no political background. His slogan “Make America Great Again” was not just a fun play of words, but it was a strong statement against the previous democrat administration. In the budget, President Trump proposes that “This Budget’s defining ambition is to unleash the dreams of the American people. This requires laying a new foundation for American Greatness. Through streamlined Government, we will drive an economic boom that raises incomes and expands job opportunities for all Americans. Faster economic growth, coupled with fiscal restraint, will enable us to fully fund our national priorities, balance our budget, and start to pay down our national debt.”[1]

One of its major proposals has been the potential budget cuts affecting especially social programs. Contrary to his speeches during the campaign, he is currently looking to cut $3.6 trillion from Social Security, health care (from Medicare and Medicaid) as well as cuts in other social sectors.[2] One of the main reasons Trump’s administration wants budget cuts is to fund tax reductions for wealthy citizens. Mick Mulvaney, White House Budget Director, says that this budget applies a lower growth rate for future spending on Medicaid by the federal government. Advocate for low-income people and health policy expert, Edwin Park stated the following, “The Trump budget assumes hundreds of billions more in Medicaid cuts than the House bill..”.[3] Wall Street financier and author, Steven Rattner claims that, “…much has been made of the $616 billion of Medicaid cuts. What the press has sometimes missed (because the Trump administration hid the numbers) is that the $616 billion is on top of $834 billion of Medicaid reductions in the Republican health care legislation. That means that President Trump, who vowed during the campaign not to touch Medicaid, now wants to cut it in half by 2027. He must really, really not like the poor.”[4] If these budget cuts were to be approved, the ones who will suffer the most are the people who rely on these programs to survive. Will the new budget plan truly improve people’s quality of life and is this the plan the United States needs to truly “Make America Great Again”?

Over the past 10 years, the United States economy has suffered an important economic recession and crises due to the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The federal government spent $4.9 trillion on the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.[5] National security has been a major issue in the United States after the tragic event on September 11th, 2001. Thus, the military had a financial increase from $307.8 billion in 2001 to $404.9 billion in 2003.[6] According to the reports from The Department of Defense, the budget in 2001 was $316 billion and the budget proposed for 2018 is $639 billion. Two of the motives for this proposed amount were to protect the Nation and “accelerating the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)…”.[7] However, this rise in budget for the Department of Defense caused negative economic effects for the population. The United States suffered economic setbacks as tax increases and investment reductions in public infrastructure and services. The federal spending could have been directed towards education or health care.[8] If the budget for The Department of Defense increases in 2018, the economy will have the same or worse setback. Nevertheless, social programs funded by the government gave aid to those in need.

[9] Department of Defense Report

One way low-income citizens have found help has been through food programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as SNAP. This program helps people with low or no income to feed their families through “food stamps” or debit cards given to them to buy food. Around 43 million people in the United States rely on SNAP. The program could suffer a $193 Billion decrease during the next ten years.[10]

Regarding health insurance, the Official Budget Blueprint of the United States cited that the “The President’s 2018 Budget requests $69.0 billion for HHS, a $15.1 billion…”[11] decrease. The Department of Health and Human Services would have a major cut. Medicaid could suffer an $800 billion budget cut, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could be cut by 20% over the next two years. The most successful countries satisfy their citizens’ basic needs. West Virginia has benefited greatly from Medicaid under the administration of former President Barack Obama. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, “Anytime you’re cutting Medicaid, you´re obviously endangering a lot of people in my state,”.[12] As one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States should be able to guarantee free health care for the sake of the citizens’ well-being.

[13] The difference between the proposed budgets between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Education.

Education is another of the most important sectors in any government since it beholds the country’s future. The education a child receives is fundamental in order to give them the necessary tools and knowledge for him to become a successful citizen. However, the proposed budget plan decreases funding for education by $9.2 billion and the education plan is now to fund more private schools for high income families at the cost of lowering public school funds for low income families.[14] John King Jr., former Secretary of Education from 2016-2017 and current president and CEO of The Education Trust, expressed, “Ultimately, we recognize that you can’t pull off an upset if the game is rigged against you and that those of us who were not born into privilege sometimes need a boost from our teammates. (That’s it for the sports references.) And that’s precisely why the Trump administration’s recently released 2018 budget is such a deeply problematic assault on the American Dream. It eliminates many of the critical supports that give people the opportunities and tools to better their lives, particularly through a net cut of more than $10 billion to education”[15] The United States is known for its Ivy League Universities. There is a vast amount of exchange students from all over the world, especially from South East Asia, who finish an undergraduate or master’s degree in the USA and then return to their home country to share this knowledge to then become a more developed country. If the US government does not grant its citizens the same opportunities as financial aid to study in their own country, there will be less people pursuing a professional university career.

Unlike the Department of Education, Department of Commerce, Department of Labor among others that would suffer budget cuts, there are three sectors that would receive an economic boost. The three sectors that benefit from budget increases are the Department of Defense with a $52 billion increase, the Department of Homeland Security with $2.8 billion (mainly for border security technology), and the Department of Veterans affairs with a $4.6 billion increase. One of the reasons why The United States is a hegemonic country is because of its high national security. The US spends more on the Defense Department, 54% of the federal discretionary spending according to the budget in 2015. The total budget was $600 billion. In comparison with China spending $200 billion.[16]

If the United States were to decrease its military expenses with the ideal purpose to retreat troops from certain countries in conflict, and maintain or increase its budget for social programs, citizens in the US would be able to live a better life. Supposing that just 10 or 15% of the military expenses were assigned to the Department of Health, more people would be able to afford necessary operations, medicine and be benefitted by research. Even though the United States does not offer free health care like other countries such as France, realistically, such an increase would be able to help those in need. A larger budget for the Department of Education could also lead to better quality of education, more scholarship programs, better salaries, and insurance for teachers. So, by adjusting the budgets in each sector and prioritizing education, health and food programs, the population will be able to have a better quality of life and give back to their communities.

The proposed plan of “Mak(ing) American Great Again” will affect other countries as well, as the United States will return to protectionism. While tariffs will increase, trade is likely to overall decrease. Foreign firms worldwide will not be able to benefit from trade due to the unilateral barriers established by the US; a shortage of trade which can lead to unemployment. Another negative effect is that US companies are bound to receive less funding from government programs which as a result, will affect not only the employer and employees of companies, but companies and their partners abroad that depend on trade as well. This will also imply the loss of foreign private investment in the USA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which includes The United States, Canada and Mexico as its members, depends on a stable commerce of goods and services as a constant flow of investment between its member states. Canada and Mexico may be affected by USA decisions. Other countries can also be affected economically as well. For instance, Peru has a free trade agreement with the United States, which is also its main exporting market for non-traditional products. If the budget were to decrease, the imports and exports would also decrease. One of Trump’s reasons to decrease budget spending on commerce is because of his strong disbelief in NAFTA. He has threatened Mexico with a 35% tariff on Mexican goods entering the USA. Trump has also promised to close “sweatshops in Mexico that undercut American workers” as well as deport illegal immigrants who have been working and earning money in The United States. [17] China would also receive an economic hit if Trump officially decides to impose a 45% tariff on their exports into the United States. By making these decisions on commerce and reducing budgets in other sectors, The United States will lose business in foreign countries. The United States is seen as the leader country when it comes to a global trade system but now, the opposite approach will occur under the new administration.

New York-based reporter at CNN Politics, Gregory Krieg, stated that, «The Budget proposes ceasing new business operations and initiating the wind-down of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) starting in 2018 to reduce unnecessary Federal interventions that distort the free market. The wind-down of OPIC is also consistent with the President’s commitment to focus less overseas and more domestically, and will achieve savings in OPIC’s administrative and subsidy expenses. In addition to the Budget request for $61 million in budget authority to support wind-down costs, OPIC will also collect $367 million in offsetting collections from loans, loan guarantees, and risk insurance activities executed in 2017 and prior years.»[18]

Thriving for a “better and greater” America, requires that moral values must be considered, among them, non-discrimination. Trump’s administration has shown no interest in opening borders for immigrants nor refugees and he has also deported undocumented immigrants. The US corporate and political domestic interests are the main aspects the country is now a hegemonic country, the United States should consider that any political and economic alteration to the status quo can have several impacts around the world. A great America is a country that respects human rights, the rights of its citizens and of the citizens of the world. Overall, the proposed budget plans to cut almost every social program that help those in economic need. This plan gives more to those who don’t need help and takes away from the necessities from the less fortunate. There is a strong disbelief in the 2018 proposed budget while there are others who support it. Nevertheless, the outcomes will speak for itself.

Budget, O. o. (23 de May de 2017). BUDGET OF THE U. S. GOVERNMENT A New Foundation For American Greatness Fiscal Year 2018.

Department of Defense. (s.f.). Obtenido de

Department of Defense. (2017). FY 2018 Budget Proposal. Obtenido de

Elliott, L. (9 de November de 2016). The Guardian. Obtenido de

Gregory Krieg and Will Mullery, C. (23 de May de 2017). CNN Politics. Obtenido de

Jr., J. K. (25 de May de 2017). US News. Obtenido de

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, A. P. (24 de May de 2017). PBS. Obtenido de PBS Newshour:

[1] (Budget, 2017); [2] (Paletta, 2017); [3] (Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, 2017); [4] (Rattner, 2017); [5] (WATSON INSTITUTE International & Public Affairs | Brown University, 2016); [6] (Lansford, 2012); [7] (Budget, 2017); [8] (Heintz, 2015); [9] (Department of Defense, 2017); [10] (MICHAEL LEACHMAN, 2017); [11] (Budget, 2017); [12] (CANCRYN, 2017); [13] (Gregory Krieg and Will Mullery, 2017); [14] (Jr., 2017; [15] (Jr., 2017); [16] (Budget, 2017); [17] (Elliott, 2016), y, [18] (Gregory Krieg and Will Mullery, 2017).

Categoría: Carrera de Relaciones Internacionales

Kathleen Priscilla Carbajal Mezarina Alumna de decimo ciclo de la carrera de Relaciones Internacionales; Delegada representando la economía de Perú en APEC Voices of the Future 2015 - Manila, Philippines; Facilitator in APEC Voices of the Future 2015 Manila, Philippines; Miembro del Welcoming Committee APEC Voices of the Future 2016 Lima, Perú; Directora de Recursos Humanos de USIL Ambassadors 2017 –II; y, Directora de Proyectos de USIL Ambassadors 2016-I hasta 2017-I.

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