The Trump administration unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget Tuesday. The plan includes massive cuts to social programs, while calling for historic increases in military spending. The budget proposes slashing $800 billion from Medicaid, nearly $200 billion from nutritional assistance programs, such as food stamps and Meals on Wheels, and more than $72 billion from disability benefits. The plan would also completely eliminate some student loan programs. It would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving support through some programs for families with children, including the child care tax credit. The budget also calls for an historic 10 percent increase in military spending and another $2.6 billion to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, including $1.6 billion to build Trump's border wall. For more, we speak with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
AMY GOODMAN: On Tuesday, the Trump administration unveiled its $4.1 trillion budget. The plan includes massive cuts to social programs, while calling for historic increases in military spending. The budget proposes slashing $800 billion from Medicaid, nearly $200 billion from nutritional assistance programs, such as food stamps and Meals on Wheels, and more than $72 billion from disability benefits. The plan would also completely eliminate some student loan programs. It would ban undocumented immigrants from receiving support through some programs for families with children, including the child care tax credit. On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont slammed Trump's budget.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: This is a budget which says that if you are a member of the Trump family, you may receive a tax break of up to $4 billion, but if you are a child of a working-class family, you could well lose the health insurance you currently have through the Children's Health Insurance Program and massive cuts to Medicaid. At a time when we remain the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all, this budget makes a bad situation worse in terms of healthcare. In other words, this is a budget that provides massive tax breaks for billionaires and corporate CEOs, and massive cuts to programs that tens of millions of struggling Americans depend upon.
When Donald Trump campaigned for president, he told the American people that he would be a different type of Republican, that he would take on the political and economic establishment, that he would stand up for working people, that he understood the pain that families all across this country were experiencing. Well, sadly, this budget exposes all of that verbiage for what it really was: just cheap and dishonest campaign rhetoric that was meant to get votes, nothing more than that.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. The ACLU, NAACP and Planned Parenthood have all come out criticizing the budget. Some conservatives are also criticizing the budget. Republican Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina told The New York Times, "Meals on Wheels, even for some of us who are considered to be fiscal hawks, may be a bridge too far," unquote.
The budget also calls for an historic 10 percent increase in military spending and another $2.6 billion to further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, including $1.6 billion to build Trump's border wall. In a rare proposed benefit for families, the budget allocates $19 billion for six weeks of paid parental leave for new families -- a project that's been spearheaded by his daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump. The budget projects 3 percent economic growth, which economists say is widely unrealistic.
Unlike previous presidents, Trump is unveiling his proposed budget while he's abroad. David Stockman, former budget director for President Ronald Reagan, said, quote, "This budget is dead before arrival, so he might as well be out of town," unquote.
Well, for more, we go to Joe Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, Columbia University professor, chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. He's the author of numerous books, most recently, The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe.
Joseph Stiglitz, welcome to Democracy Now!
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Nice to be here.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you respond to the budget that's just been revealed?
JOSEPH STIGLITZ: It's like everything else: It's made up. You could say it's a collection of lies put together. It doesn't make any economic sense. I don't think anybody who's looked at it has -- can fathom the economics. I mean, you mentioned one thing, the 3 percent growth rate, which is the largest deviation in estimate relative to the CBO on record. You know, when I was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, we wanted to be responsible, and we always were conservative and were very careful, getting the views of everybody, wanted to make sure that our numbers were reasonable. He's made no pretense to be reasonable.
In fact, what's striking is, while he assumes that there's going to be more growth, if you look at the budget, it's designed to reduce growth. He cuts out support for science, for R&D, which is the basis of productivity growth. He cuts out support for job retraining, so when people leave one job, they can be trained for the next job. He cuts out support for Pell grants, so those who have low income can get the education so they can live up to their potential. All these are things that actually lower economic growth. So I would say this is not a growth budget, this is a no-growth budget.
And then he has the numbers, you know, the gall to have things like -- you know, just mind-bending. He says he's going to -- elsewhere, he said he's going to eliminate the estate tax. And his budget says that he's going to raise several hundred billion dollars' more money from an estate tax that is zeroed out. Now, you can make a statement that if we lowered the estate tax a little bit, maybe people will be induced to die more, and maybe we'll get more revenue. You could make that kind of statement. But one thing you don't need a Ph.D. is, zero times any number is zero. So if you have a zero estate tax, no matter how many people are dying and how wealthy they are, you're going to get zero revenue.
And remember, what he's doing, he's cutting out the estate tax that benefits 0.2 percent of the economy -- of our society. You know, you have to have an estate of more than 10 million, if you're a married couple, in order to pay anything on the estate tax. And meanwhile, he's cutting benefits for ordinary Americans -- education, health, as you mentioned, food, nutrition. It's not just the system of social protection that we've created, but even the bottom safety net that is -- catches people when they're in trouble.
For the continued transcript and the video interview, please go here: https://www.democracynow.org/2017/5/24/economist_joseph_stiglitz_trumps_budget_takes