The Trump administration’s budget for 2019 is a declaration of war on poor and working people all over the world and in the U.S. The $4.4 trillion budget proposes a combination of further increases in military spending, more tax cuts to the super rich, and cuts to working families and the poor – all in addition to the massive cuts and corporate handouts from the previous budget. The agenda of the administration couldn’t be any clearer – they are ready to defend their class of billionaire bankers and CEOs at all costs, even nuclear war.
Trump’s budget calls for $716 billion in military spending, an increase of $195 billion over the next two years, which includes adding 25,900 soldiers to the military, building ten new warships, increasing production of warplanes, and even planning to produce more nuclear weapons. Trump explained these goals as follows: “We’re going to have the strongest military we’ve ever had by far. We’re increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon. We’re modernizing and creating brand new – a brand new nuclear force.”
A recent Pentagon strategy document (“2018 National Defense Strategy”) submitted by Defense Secretary James Mattis, argues for a massive military buildup to defend U.S. economic dominance throughout the world, and to prepare for possible war with China, Russia, and North Korea. In the document, Mattis warns of severe damage to U.S. companies and their profits if this military buildup is not enormous:
Failure to meet our defense objectives will result in decreasing U.S. global influence…reduced access to markets…a decline in our prosperity and standard of living. Without sustained…investment to restore readiness and modernize our military…we will rapidly lose our military advantage.
Trump, along with Mattis and others, have called for an increase in the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons, and are proposing to build smaller nuclear weapons to make them more usable in military conflict. But these so-called “small” nuclear weapons are at least as destructive as the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and later on Nagasaki during World War II, killing about 150,000 people shortly after each bomb was detonated. In other words, the Trump administration is ready to increase the risk of nuclear war, a possibility Mattis has defended by saying, “We must look reality in the eye and see the world as it is, not as we wish it to be.”
And in order to help pay for the military budget, over $1.8 trillion in cuts to social services for workers and the poor have been proposed. These include cuts to food stamps and housing assistance for the poor, cuts to education, environmental protections, and more. The budget also calls for $3.4 billion more in funding for the Department of Homeland Security in order to intensify attacks against immigrants. And the budget proposes $18 billion for expanding the border wall with Mexico and hiring 2,750 new ICE and Border Patrol Agents.
The Trump administration couldn’t be clearer which side they are on. The same is true for the Democrats. They may try to position themselves as an opposition to Trump, but it is an opposition in words only. For the most part, Democrats represent the same agenda – voting 89% in support of the $696.5 billion military budget passed in July of 2017. In order to maintain this system, they demand further attacks on our standard of living, increased destruction of the environment, an intensification of war, and the looming prospect of nuclear war. If they have it their way, the future they have in store for working people around the world couldn’t be worse.