On Fox News, Gutting Social Safety Nets Is ‘Restoring The Dignity Of Work’

This post appears in Social Security, part of our ongoing series Broken Promises, a project to track the campaign promises of Donald Trump and if they hold true.
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Neil Cavuto promoted the Trump administration’s fiction that its budget did not break any campaign promises. But his guests took the cheerleading even further, suggesting the budget “gives people the pride” of living without a social safety net.

ABC News explains why Trump budget director Mick Mulvaney’s claim that the budget does not cut Medicaid and thus keeps a Trump campaign promise is “artfully evasive.” The Los Angeles Times reported that the budget also “includes $1.7 trillion in cuts to major social insurance and assistance programs, including food stamps, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Social Security disability.”

But in a panel discussion yesterday, Cavuto ignored the cuts to disability and children’s health insurance as he touted Mulvaney’s claim about Medicaid as truth. Cavuto pulled up a CBO chart saying that Trump will slow the growth of Medicaid, not cut it. “I think it’s time to step back and understand what ‘cut’ means in Washington today,” Cavuto insisted. “It still grows, it just doesn’t grow as much.”

Medicaid would still have over $5 trillion spent on that program over the next 10 years, Cavuto said reassuringly. But, he acknowledged, “It will be curbed by about $800 billion over 10 years.”

Wait. Neil, you just said the word "curbed." Isn't that a cut?

Not to Cavuto. “That is not a cut my friend, it is a trimming in the growth.”

Someone who depends on Medicaid, like an elderly person in a nursing home, might not see a big difference there. But Cavuto’s panel of two total cheerleaders and one kinda-sorta dissenter seemed to buy the deception.

“I completely agree with that,” guest Gianno Caldwell said. “I think what President Trump is doing is keeping consistent with his word on the campaign trail.” Caldwell argued that African Americans and millennials will love being denied a social safety net because “It definitely gives people the pride to say that look, I went above what was welfare, I went above poverty and now I can provide for my own family.”


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Guest Carrie Sheffield applauded and shouted, “Amen!” She gushed, “This is restoring the dignity of work, the dignity of an honest day’s work.” She complained, “When it comes to Medicaid, there’s no incentive right now to cut health care spending. Right now, it’s through the roof. … We’ve got to reign in the cost.”

Cavuto seized on another Mulvaney talking point, that too many people are receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps). “This is not sustainable,” he said.

The supposed liberal on the panel, Danielle McLaughlin, did not call out the Trump propaganda going on under her nose. Instead, she played the “I agree with you, I just won’t go that far” game: “It’s not sustainable,” she agreed, “but I think we need to make the point that the food stamp program, the SNAP program is in large part used by the working poor. […] We have a lot of people who are underemployed, we have a lot of people who are working part time.”

“You can’t have it both ways. You can’t have a boom going on and then a lot of people who are starving,” Cavuto argued. He didn’t bother to look into how many people might be working who don’t make enough money to feed themselves and their family.

“They’re disincentivized to work,” Sheffield said, suggesting that she thinks starvation is her idea of a great incentive.

McLaughlin once again seemed more interested in cozying up to conservatives than advocating another position. “We need to have some cuts in all of these programs, most certainly,” she announced. “We had a great recession eight years ago, and we’re slowly making a recovery.”

The discussion closed as they all had a good laugh at a joke about Cavuto’s waistline. None of them had a care in the world about what disaster the budget might wreak on those less fortunate.

Watch Fox help Trump wage war on the poor (and pretend otherwise) above, from the May 23, 2017 Your World.

Crossposted at News Hounds.
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