Ours is not the budget that matters
Philip Hammond made a faux pas a few weeks ago by breaking a manifesto promise and raising National Insurance in the spring budget. He went against political tradition and seemingly against the will of the people: the only reason that the Conservatives are in power is because people trusted them to make good on their promises and make their lives better. The Prime Minister has since climbed down in a U-turn and the increase has been struck out of the budget.
None of that matters.
The British press was raving about the U-turn, as they do every time it happens, the left calling it a sign of a weak government and the right hailing it as a showing of compromise and sense. But the budget that matters - the budget with world-shaking consequences - was made last week by the incumbent president Trump.
We all knew that this coming 4 years was going to be a return to the rampant, fanatical anti-regulation, free market Reaganomics of the 1980s, and that those on the fringes of society who rely on government subsidised healthcare or social security might suffer (despite Trump being elected by a majority of those people). We had no idea that it might be this sick.
A key hallmark of the budget is taking money away from many areas, like climate science or healthcare and putting it into defence spending, which was already the largest piece of the trillion dollar pie. This tells us that the government has no comprehension of how disastrously the last foreign conflicts the US was involved in went (see systematic torture in Iraq). It’s big-stick diplomacy in an age where insulting the size of China’s stick might just lead to apocalyptic conflict.
They also don’t seem to understand how their interventionism has caused the volatile and dangerous situation in the Middle East that is the status quo. The only way to solve the mess of these majority Muslim countries is to use diplomacy and measured force, rather than the bombastic promises of ‘butt kicking’ terrorism which only serve to galvanise the extremists.
Funneling money into that part of the budget is nearly excusable. You could make legitimate arguments that it’s important the USA shows its strength on the international stage.
There’s no excuse for cutting funding for climate science.
You cannot deny the human hand in causing global warming. To do so goes against objective fact and overwhelming scientific consensus. Trump has cut green energy programme funding to near enough zero. He’s slashed international programmes to research into clean alternatives for fossil fuels. The dogmatic republican establishment, seemingly in an attempt to appeal to Rust Belt coal miners whose jobs might be cut if the coal industry declines, is putting the planet on the line
By doing this, and by this week pulling the USA out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump plays dice with the fate of the Earth. It’s not just a couple of polar bears on the line. It’s the lives of your sons and daughters: the defining factor of their existence could be dealing with corrosive, burning acid rain and choking, dense smog invading from the cities, preventing them from going outside without breathing equipment. An ozone layer so thin and a CO2 layer so thick that searing sunlight burns their skin whenever they exit a building.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
It will be if we continue to lay down and let our governments ignore the climate change that will define human existence if we don’t act now. Protest, lobby, donate, do whatever you can. We need to send the White House a message that this is unacceptable.