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Finance & Innovation

John Oliver Just Delivered a Brutal Assessment of Trump's Budget

Last Thursday, the Trump administration released a budget proposal that cut essential environmental, educational, and arts funding in favor of a significant increase in defense spending. 

The proposed $54 billion increase in military spending, including $1.4 billion funneled to the National Nuclear Security Administration, will be taken out of what is called “discretionary” (as opposed to mandatory) spending, and includes cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

UN funding could be slashed in half, and will include cuts to peacekeeping initiatives, development banks, and cultural exchange programs.  

Take Action: Tell the U.S. to Preserve Their Commitments to The Paris Agreement On Climate Change

According to Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, these cuts will benefit single mothers and poor coal miners in Appalachia because increased defense spending will keep them safe and put more money in their pockets. 

John Oliver, in his most recent Last Week Tonight segment, has a big problem with this logic. 

Citing proposed cuts to programs like Wings for Kids and the Appalachian Regional Commission, Oliver took Mulvaney to task for his claim that the poorest and most vulnerable populations will be helped by increasing military spending and slashing other programs. 

“While yes, the military keeps single mothers safe, on a day-to-day basis, ‘Bob the Builder’ is an actual lifesaver for them,” Oliver said — referring to a television program for kids that could be imperiled, thanks to cuts to The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). 

Single mothers who rely on afterschool programs like Wings for Kids will be put in an incredibly tough spot if Trump’s cuts pass Congress, Oliver argued. 

And ironically, Oliver pointed out, “if anything resembling this budget passes, many of Trump’s own voters will likely wind up getting burned.”

He made a similar point last week, when he pointed out that the people hurt most by the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) were the people who voted for Trump — poorer and older Americans primarily located in the middle of the country.  

While last week Oliver put together a fake ad (which later aired on Fox News) in which a character named “Catheter Cowboy” spoke to Trump about his health care plan, this week Oliver turned Trump’s own words against him. 

Watch: John Oliver Is Airing This Ad on Fox News and It's Brilliant

“You can’t con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, you can throw in a little hyperbole,” Trump wrote in his book “The Art of the Deal.” “But if you don’t deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.”

If Trump’s budget does pass — either in its current or in a similar future iteration — Oliver believes that people will start to catch on. That is, if they haven’t already.