At a recent press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Marta Conner told reporters, "My daughter Caroline is alive because of Medicaid." Caroline suffers from Rett Syndrome, a rare, debilitating neurodevelopmental disease that prevents her from using her hands, talking, and walking.
Marta says that Caroline has roughly 90 seizures a year and relies on 10 medications. Without her medication, Caroline would have seizures every day. Caroline's care requires hospital-grade equipment including a cough assist machine, a nebulizer, oxygen supplies, and help from nurses. Marta relies on Medicaid to pay for the substantial costs that her insurance doesn't cover.
So why would President Trump so cruelly threaten Caroline's care and the care of millions of other Americans by drastically cutting Medicaid in his recently released budget? Sadly, there's a simple explanation: he wants to give huge tax cuts to big corporations and billionaires like himself.
It's been widely reported that President Trump's proposed budget would steal trillions of dollars from services that working families rely on -- including Medicaid, Social Security, and public education. What makes the cuts even more outrageous is that they're being used to pay for Trump's massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. So much for his populist promises from the campaign trail.
Trump's proposed budget would cut $4.3 trillion overall over 10 years from a full spectrum of vital public services, including education, nutrition, medical and disability insurance, NASA, national parks, environmental protection, and medical research.
Trump's budget would take away tax credits from low-income workers and parents. He would make it harder for students to afford college, families to put food on the table, seniors to get nursing-home care, and injured workers to support themselves.
At the same time, Trump is preparing a tax plan that could cost $6 trillion (based on the proposal he put forward last year during the campaign), mostly to the benefit of the wealthy and huge corporations. He claims the tax cuts will pay for themselves through greater economic growth, but that would defy all historical precedent and basic arithmetic. No reputable experts agree with the administration's claim.
So, Trump and Republicans in Congress will really be paying for their high-end tax breaks by taking away services that working families and seniors rely on.
There are numerous examples of this terrible tradeoff -- cutting services for ordinary people to fund tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy -- throughout Trump's fiscal plans.
For example, Trump would cut $2.5 trillion over 10 years from services directed at low- and moderate income families. This would essentially pay for a $2 trillion tax cut for the "pass-through" business income of hedge fund managers, corporate lawyers, and real estate developers (like Trump). This tax break is such a personal financial boon for the president -- his business is composed of more than 500 pass-through entities -- that it's been rightly dubbed "The Trump Loophole."
Trump's budget would cut $610 billion from Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for more than one in five Americans -- nearly 69 million people. Medicaid pays for half of all nursing home and other long-term care. Yet Trump wants to let tax-dodging multinational corporations off the hook for $600 billion in U.S. taxes they owe on profits they've stashed offshore.
(By the way, those Medicaid cuts are on top of more than $800 billion in Medicaid cuts inflicted by the Congressional Republican health care plan endorsed by the president.)
Trump proposes slashing $192 billion over the next decade from nutrition assistance (food stamps) that 42 million people need to keep from going hungry. Yet Trump's plan to abolish the estate tax would give away $174 billion to millionaires and billionaires. The estate tax only affects the richest one in 500 families, those couples with fortunes of $11 million and up.
Millionaires, billionaires and rich corporations do not need more tax breaks -- they need to start paying their fair share. Any attempt by the president to slash public services essential to the health and well-being of America's working families to pay for these tax breaks must be stopped. The lives of Caroline Conner and millions of others must not be put at risk.
Clemente is executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness.