Fostering Terrorism, Selling Arms to Dictators and Screwing the Poor

Donald Trump appears right at home parlaying with dictators and oligarchs in the extravagance of the royal palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This was a bizarre week in U.S. politics, and it wasn’t because of Donald Trump’s tweets. Two things happened that gave us more insight into who Donald Trump really is: Trump went on his first foreign tour, and his administration released its 2018 proposed budget.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, we witnessed Trump declaring war on “radical Islamist terrorism.” In the ridiculous extravagance of the Saudi Royal palace, Trump could be seen cozying up to the self-same autocrats and dictators who repress their own people, deny women rights, bomb civilians in Yemen and Iraq and support Wahhabi Islam, a fundamentalist strain that does more to foster terrorism than combat it.

Meanwhile, the avowed enemy, Iran, was holding what, by most accounts, was free and fair elections. So much for America being a beacon of democracy around the globe.

The real purpose of the trip was revealed when Trump, while in Riyadh, signed a $100 billion-plus arms sale agreement with the Saudis.  At least the President is being transparent.

While Trump was in Saudi Arabia doing the bidding of U.S. arms manufacturers, his administration back at home was releasing its blueprint for the 2018 federal budget. In a nutshell, the budget is another bonanza for the armaments industry with defense spending rising more than 10% while domestic discretionary spending is slashed. Many of the largest cuts are to programs, such as Medicare, that are intended to aid the poor and disadvantaged.

In addition, Trump’s budget proposal contains still more tax cuts for the rich, paid for by a presumed rebound in economic growth from 2% to  3% annually – a level not seen consistently since the 1990’s. The rebound assumes all those tax cuts he’s recommending will “trickle down” to the ordinary working people Trump claims to represent. More supply-side B.S.

Here again, the underlying strategy is pretty obvious: Let Congress fight over where and how to cut the budget, divert people’s attention and take the heat while more tax cuts for the rich slip through amidst the clamor and chaos of a dysfunctional Congressional budget process.

Note to Donald Trump : The American people are not as stupid as you think they are.