The Heritage Foundation’s ties to the Trump administration are very extensive and his budget proposal shows it, according to In These Times writer Theo Anderson
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.
The America First budget blueprint of President Donald Trump released earlier this month outlines eliminations of two hundred federal programs including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal aid to the poor. It also eliminates practically all programs having anything to do with climate change whether the EPA or in other departments.
A recent article in the publication titled In These Times titled, “The Rightwing Machine Behind the Curtain” details how Trump’s budget is based on a blueprint that the Heritage Foundation prepared last year. Anderson goes on to describe the Heritage Foundation’s history and role in Republican administrations, both on the state and federal level.
Joining us now to talk about his article on the Heritage Foundation’s role in our national budget and much more is Theo Anderson. He’s a staff writer for In These Times since 2010. He has a PhD in Modern U.S. History from Yale.
Thanks so much for joining us, Theo.
THEO ANDERSON: Thank you. Good to be here.
SHARMINI PERIES: So, Theo, let’s start with Trump’s draft budget and the Heritage Foundation’s blueprint. How much of the Heritage Foundation’s blueprint in the Trump’s budget proposal?
THEO ANDERSON: Well, it’s virtually identical in many ways, especially in the realm of environmental cuts. The budget blueprint that Heritage put out last year calls for the elimination of almost every environmental or green energy program, it calls for some of the well-known cuts
to arts programs.
One of the key people at the Heritage Foundation, one of the Directors of Economic Policy Institute there, and Chief Economic Advisor to Trump, and was one of the key people who actually wrote the draft of the budget. So, there are tight connections between the Trump administration and the although … under the radar until recently when its involvement with the Trump budget has brought it to the fore and made those connections more well known.
SHARMINI PERIES: Right. And what is the overall vision of the Heritage Foundation for America?
THEO ANDERSON: Well, I go into this in the article, you can see what the vision is if you look at the state level. I mentioned that ALEC — American Legislative Exchange Council — was founded at the same time. The seed money was given by the same person, Joseph Coors, the beer baron, so, it’s a very aggressive tax-cutting and regulatory slashing agenda. The most famous example we have right now is in Kansas where Sam Brownback decided to make an experiment of the state by slashing taxes and reducing government as much as possible. And he thought that that would result in a flourishing of economic growth. That hasn’t happened. The state is in terrible right now with its budget deficit.
But it’s basically the ALEC agenda of crushing unions, lowering wages, reducing government as much as possible and cutting taxes, and friendliness to corporate agendas. That’s the Heritage Agenda in a nutshell.
Stephen Bannon put it most starkly when he said it was about the destruction of the administrative state. And that doesn’t come out of nowhere. That’s basically what the Heritage Foundation is about — dismantling, basically, federal agencies, federal protection of the environment, as I mentioned, but also for workers. So, we can see it going on at the state level and now they’re trying to take that agenda to the Federal level. That is basically my point.
SHARMINI PERIES: All right. I’m speaking with Theo Anderson. He has got a new article out in In These Times, titled. “The Rightwing Machine Behind the Curtain”. And I thank you so much for joining us today, Theo.
THEO ANDERSON: Thank you.
SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.