President Donald Trump finally figured out who was going to pay for his wall, and, as expected, it isn’t Mexico. It’s the American people.
But that shouldn’t have surprised anyone, especially with his track record of keeping his other campaign promises.
Everyone should have seen it coming after his Jan. 11 press conference, where he said that Mexico “in some form, and there are many different forms, will reimburse us, and they will reimburse us for the cost of the wall.”
It should have been explicitly clear that Mexico wasn’t paying when Mexican President Enrique Peña said, “It is evident that we have some differences with the new government of the United States, like to the topic of the wall, that Mexico of course will not pay.”
But now it’s been made absolutely clear that is the American people who are paying for the wall with his proposed budget plan released Thursday.
According to the plan, Trump wishes to “invest” $2.6 billion in “high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology, including funding to plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border.”
So there it is, 2.6 billion taxpayer dollars are going into building a wall that, according to the Pew Research Center, only 35 percent of Americans are in favor of.
With the question of who is paying sorted out, attention must be turned to how Trump will pay for his wall.
He’d pay for his wall by making $54 billion worth of cuts to parts of the federal government and a variety of government programs.
While the wall accounts for roughly five percent of the cuts, where would the rest of the money go?
To defense funding of course, specifically to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
In the budget plan, Trump says that America must “ensure that our courageous servicemen and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight, do only one thing: win.”
The thing is, the U.S. is already well-prepared for such an eventuality, in fact, there aren’t any militaries that are as powerful as America’s.
According to a study done by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, in terms of defense spending, America spends more on defense then the next seven countries combined.
In 2016 the US spent $596 billion on defense, whereas the next seven countries, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the UK, India, France and Japan, spent a combined total of $567 billion.
The only reason Trump wants to increase defense spending is so that he can pander to his Republican voter base.
The list of programs he’s diminishing is a long one, so here are the most important ones.
In terms of budget reductions, he proposes a $2.6 billion cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (which, oddly enough, is the same amount put toward the wall), an $11 billion cut to the State Department, a $2.5 billion cut to the Labor Department, a $5 billion cut to the Agriculture Department and a $1 billion cut to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Trump also plans to eliminate programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which contains PBS and NPR), the Global Climate Change Initiative, the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the State Energy Program, the Global Climate Change Initiative and many others.
This is appalling. Who in their right mind would cut arts and education programs, popular programs that benefit people all across the country, for building a bigger stick?
Because that’s all that would come of these losses: a bigger stick and a pointlessly expensive wall.
But of course Trump is going to push for it, and of course the Republican congress is going to pass it through.
Because why wouldn’t they? This budget plan is everything they ever dreamed of and there really isn’t anyone who can stop them.
And that’s why people need to speak out against this.
This is only a proposed budget plan, an outline for what the current administration wants to happen, so there’s still time to fight it.
Write to your congressional representatives, call their offices, let them know that you won’t stand for them supporting this.
Remind them that the people should not be afraid of the government, the government should be afraid of them.
Because at the end of the day we elected these people, they represent us, and just as soon as we elected them, we can replace them.
Q Russell is a sophomore journalism major from Charlotte, North Carolina