Released on March 16, the blueprint for the federal budget for the 2018 fiscal year should hardly come as a shock to anyone on the political spectrum. The greatest trends in the FY18 budget reflect the new administration’s priorities, which resemble, not too subtly, principles of fascism.
The President’s campaign thrived on a simplistic platform. His campaign preached of the shameful and corrupt state of American politics which has degraded a nation that was, at a time, so-called great. The Trump campaign sold the American people on the idea that their candidate, with his strong and honest—manipulative and iniquitous—voice, was the person capable of restoring the country to its previous greatness.
A perfunctory analysis of the Trump Administration’s proposed budget finds the FY18 budget as insultingly transparent as the President’s campaign. The proposal’s title, “America First - A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” fulfills the President’s promise to the nation of leadership that is the antithesis of typical, convoluted politics.
The proposed budget begs us to step into the harsh reality of the coming years under the Trump Administration. If the President succeeds in bringing the proposed budget into fruition, every individual can expect several drastic and consequential changes to their lives.
I, for example, am an undergraduate, dual degree student majoring in English and Painting. After graduation, I hope to join a field in which I can succeed with a communicative and creative skill set. How much does the President value my personal interests based on the proposed budget? Short answer: he doesn’t. Rather, the blueprint for the federal budget proposes to eliminate funding for two independent agencies which benefit my interests: the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Both the NEA and the NEH are indispensable not only to people working in the arts and the humanities but to our society as a whole. Over 4.5 million Americans work in creative fields, which contribute nearly 700 billion dollars to the GDP in a given in year.
The NEA is the nation’s primary funder of the arts. Thousands of nonprofits, as well as every Congressional District in the nation, receive grants from the NEA each year. The existence of federally funded agencies such as the NEA is crucial to continued access to the arts. The grants provided by NEH work to sustain cultural institutions across the nation, including, but not limited to, museums, universities, and scholars. Federal funding, unlike the geographical imbalance of private giving, ensures that funds are proportionally allocated to communities across the nation.
While investment in the arts and the humanities has been struck from the FY18 budget, the discretionary spending for every other agency—other than Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs—will also diminish under the new budget proposal. The cutting of billions of dollars from nearly every government agency—a roughly 1.2 percent decrease in discretionary spending as a whole—will, in turn, be directed towards military spending. The FY18 budget calls for a nearly 10 percent increase in defense spending.
The President has often been labeled as a fascist and his FY18 budget if only aids the understanding that his political agenda shares a resemblance to principles of fascist ideology. “Make America Great Again,” the slogan which propelled the President’s campaign and has been used for the title of the proposed budget, highly relies on the concept of “lost-golden-age syndrome.” The budget’s title screams of the obsession with rebirthing nationalism, which founded fascism in Italy and Germany during the early to mid-twentieth century. Fascism has also been historically linked to increased militarism as a means to solving political issues. In the proposed budget, the President has aggrandized the nation’s military institutions by prioritizing of military spending in lieu of every other government agency under the assumption that doing so will amend a slew of international issues.
In accordance with fascist methodology, the FY18 budget prioritizes increased military expenditure and dismantles principle contributors to social and cultural institutions. In terms of its extremities, the proposed budget is characteristic of the leadership under which it was formed. Undoubtedly, the enactment of the proposed budget would be counter to national progress and negatively impact our nation’s character.