Quick Notes on Racial Quagmires in Trump’s New Budget

I don’t want to go into a detailed analysis of the Trump Administration’s proposed budget here — the Washington establishment will do plenty of that. And it won’t likely get past Congress anyway — presidential budget proposals rarely do. But I think there are some consequences for racial inequality which I wanted to point out. If I’ve misstated anything here, please reach out in the comments or personally and I’ll correct it asap.

According to the New York Times (admittedly a liberal source, but usually factually accurate), the budget leaves Social Security and Medicare untouched. These two programs are programs which are, at their core, devoted to helping elderly Americans (65 years old and older). Both programs now have significant resources devoted to people with disabilities, which is admirable, but the elderly are the first priority. And what does the elderly US population look like? According to the US Census Bureau, it is approximately 61% white (non-Latino), 18% Latino, 13% black, and 8% Asian/American Indian/other.

On the other hand, the program calls for significant cuts to Medicaid and nutritional assistance (food stamps), which are devoted to helping low-income Americans. According to a 2014 Census Bureau Report, the population living under 1.25 times the poverty level is approximately 43% white (non-Latino), 28% Latino, 21% black, and 8% other.[1]

I don’t think the Trump administration is out to purposely discriminate against black or Latino-origin Americans. But I think we should be clear that if we cut welfare programs helping the poor without cutting welfare programs helping the elderly, the consequences fall disproportionately on black and Latino Americans.

[1] Numbers obtained by using figures in table on page 17.

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Abe Collier

“I do not understand one thing in this world. Not one.” — Marilynne Robinson, ‘Gilead’