Something Republicans like to say is that Democrats are waging class warfare. They act like the left’s desire to redistribute wealth from the 1 percent to the 99 percent is part of a mission to turn the United States into a socialist country, and that this mission is buoyed by fanning inter-class hatred.

I have three responses to that.

1. If poor people hate rich people, it’s not because Democrats told them to. It’s because rich people are really obnoxious. (See picture above.)

2. The vast majority of Democrats don’t want socialism. They just don’t want to live in a country where a few colossally wealthy people can stack the deck. The rich, through the power of their wealth, have managed to: outlaw labor unions, dodge taxes legally, influence elections disproportionately, undo regulations meant to protect people’s health and safety, knowingly wreck the world economy with impunity, etc. This is a partial list. Democrats aren’t pining for Chavism. They just want a fair shake.

3. So if Democrats aren’t waging class warfare, but rather trying to salvage some remnants of economic justice and social security, then why do Republicans make that allegation? Because they don’t want anyone to notice they’re the ones on the offensive.

Donald Trump’s new budget proves it. Here’s what he wants to cut: the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Labor. Here’s what gets more money: Defense, Veteran’s Affairs, and Homeland Security.

With the exception of Veteran’s Affairs, there’s a clear pattern: All of the agencies getting budget cuts are ones that make sure lower-class Americans don’t get trampled. These agencies make sure poor people are housed, educated, healthy and protected equally under the law.

Trump is presenting a thesis statement with this budget proposal. Harming foreigners is good. Helping poor people is bad. And the most irritating thing is that Trump acts as though he speaks for all Americans. That’s just not true. Assuming all the people who voted for him support it, this budget doesn’t reflect the values of a majority of voters.

Social media has zeroed in on one victim of this budget in particular: Meals on Wheels, a charity that delivers food to the elderly and disabled. As Snopes pointed out, the budget doesn’t explicitly target Meals on Wheels. It cuts the Community Development Block Grant program. I used to cover city governments from Ohio to Florida. The CDBG is a life saver for cities. Their revenues don’t usually go as far as their needs, and CDBG funds things like homeless shelters, drug programs and, yeah, Meals on Wheels.

The poor didn’t pick this fight. Let’s talk about who’s really waging class warfare.

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Ben Wolford
Ben Wolford is editor of Latterly. His reporting has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, The Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere.