It’s not a surprise that any political action supported by the president is bound to hurt people of color, but the extent to which his super inflated proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year affects Black people is impossible to ignore upon closer inspection.
Not only would the budget add $7 trillion to the already ballooning deficit – something Trump made a habit of chiding Obama for – it would slash spending for five programs in particular that have been crucial for Black people and people of color overall.
Renters receiving public assistance for housing will have their benefits cut by 11 percent, the Associated Press reported. While that news might please Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, the fact of the matter is that “Forty-eight percent of public housing households are black compared to only 19 percent of all renter households,” according to statistics compiled by HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. With Black unemployment remaining high despite recent, yet overstated, progress on that front, the plight for Black folks to secure adequate housing could get much tougher in the near future.
Black people have been the disproportionate recipients of food stamps, with nearly 25 percent of African-Americans being sent the public assistance each month. With Trump’s budget cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits program by $213 over the next decade, the move will almost certainly be devastating to the Black folks who depend on them. To add insult to injury, Trump has proposed replacing food stamps with a “Blue Apron-style” system that would deliver boxes of food to families, introducing a number of potential cultural, personal and social conflicts.
The rise of Trump and his White nationalism has likewise meant the rise of Jeff Session, America’s top law enforcement official who has doubled down on his decades-long reign of racist terror against Black people. He just vowed Monday to protect the “Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement,” which is not-so-coded language that could be translated to mean its open season on people of color. Beyond that, Trump’s budget “seeks more than $109 million for crime-fighting efforts,” according to the AP, which only empowers the same police departments that routinely terrorize Black communities.
As if the above wasn’t bad enough, Trump’s budget would also make student loan debt forgiveness by the government a thing of the past. That would be terrible on face value alone, but when you factor in how nearly half of all Black student loan borrowers end up defaulting on what the borrow — never mind the negative implications for Black borrowers’ financial futures because of those loans — enrolling in, let alone graduating from, college becomes an even higher hurdler Black folks to clear than before.
Even though just 10 percent of African-Americans depend on Medicare, Trump’s proposed budget cuts would force those senior citizens to pay much more for their prescription drugs, according to the AP. With the health discrepancies between Black people and other races being well documented, expanding, not reducing “health coverage among African Americans is critical,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.