Later today, Donald Trump will make his first address to Congress, where he is expected to outline an “historic increase in defence spending” at the expense of foreign aid and environmental protection programmes.
Yesterday, the White House outlined a massive $54bn increase in expenditure on the military, including on tanks, ships and weapons systems.
It is not as if the US needs more weapons: it already spends more on its armed forces than the next eight countries combined.
According to the White House’s fake news spin doctor, Sean Spicer: “The president will lay out an optimistic vision for the country. The theme will be a renewal of the American spirit.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yesterday officials outlined how the massive increase in spending on bombs will be financed partly by “dollar-for-dollar cuts” to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as other Government Departments.
Over the weekend, the new head of the Agency, Scott “Polluting Pruitt”, told a Conservative conference that ripping up regulations on climate change and water pollution was justified. He said that the EPA should be completely disbanded. He also said that the Trump administration would start “dismantling” the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and Waters of the United States rule this week.
And here is one of the massive contradictions of the Trump Administration.
According to Trump, his budget will put “America First”, but at what cost? A new analysis reveals that repealing the CPP, which limits pollution from power plants, “would cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars, add more than a billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and cause more than 100,000 premature deaths due to inhaled particulate pollution.” The President will put his people first by poisoning them in the process.
Jeffrey Rissman, the Head of Modeling and an Energy Policy Expert at Energy Innovation, which analysies low carbon strategies for policy-makers, has modelled the impact of repealing the CPP.
He used something called the Energy Policy Simulator, a peer reviewed and open source model, using data from several US agencies.
Writing in Forbes magazine, Rissman notes that “repealing the CPP would result in an increase of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of more than 500 million metric tons (MMT) in 2030 and 1200 MMT in 2050, contributing to global warming and severe weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and droughts.”
The cumulative cost to the US economy would exceed $100 billion by 2030 and would reach nearly $600 billion by 2050. It would also “increase particulate emissions, causing more than 40,000 premature deaths in 2030 and more than 120,000 premature deaths in 2050.”
“Repealing the Clean Power Plan would be a terrible mistake”, he concludes. That is a complete understatement.
The only good news, according to the New York Times, is that because both the Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule were “finalized under existing laws long before Mr. Obama left office, they cannot be simply undone with a stroke of the president’s pen, legal experts in both the Obama and Trump White Houses have said”.
But make no mistake. An assault against the people of America, their health and the air they breathe has begun. Whilst the poor will suffer the most, the rich will prosper.
Even the Financial Times notes: “Donald Trump is creating a field day for the 1%. He was supposed to be leading a revolt against America’s elites. In practice Donald Trump is laying out a banquet for their delectation.”
We have to resist.