Trump's Budget: Values of a Heartless Rich Man
Published in ChicagoNow, March 22, 2017
Martin Luther King taught us that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Donald Trump teaches us that truth and justice (weren’t those part of Superman’s American way?) don’t matter. There is no right thing, only the bottom line. Jesus asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?” Trump’s proposed budget only asks, “What profit do these things make?” Guess he’s not too worried about his soul.
Along with the infamous Wheels on Meals cut, here are just a few of my “favorite things” dumped by Trump’s skinny budget.
Environmental Protection Agency, $2.6 billion, or 31.4% cut
National Institutes of Health, $5.8 billion, a nearly 20% cut
USDA Water and Wastewater loan and grant program cut, a savings of $498 million
Department of Education, 20 programs reduced or eliminated, including Striving Readers and Teacher Quality Partnership
Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing, cut all funding
Clean Power Plan, cut all funding
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school programs and summer programs students in low-income communities, cut all funding, a savings of $1.2 billion
Community Development Block Grant, which in part funds Meals on Wheels, cut all funding
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, cut all funding
Global Climate Change Initiative, cut all funding
McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, cut all funding
National Endowment for the Arts, cut all funding
National Endowment for the Humanities, cut all funding
United States Institute of Peace, cut all funding
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, cut all funding
White House Office of Management and Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, has made the following incredible statements:
Meals on Wheels and after-school nutrition programs were cut because those programs “aren’t showing any results.”
Programs to feed children who come to school hungry show no evidence that they are “helping kids do better in school…and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.”
“Can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
The Low Income Heating Assistance Program can be eliminated because “LIHEAP is a lower-impact program and is unable to demonstrate strong performance outcomes.”
This kind of thinking is as heartless as Marie Antoinette supposedly saying about starving French peasants who had no bread to eat, “Let them eat cake!” Whether or not she actually uttered these words, they reflect the out-of-touch and indifferent royals of her time. Is Trump’s skinny budget really that different?
After this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago (estimated to cost us $3 million each) and other golf resorts. Plus, every time his children and grandchildren travel, it costs the taxpayers a small fortune. Recently, they took a ski vacation to Colorado for which taxpayers footed the bill for 100 Secret Service personnel that provided security. And then there is the fortune we are paying for maintaining security for his wife and son at Trump Tower. CNN estimated that one of the floors of space reportedly under consideration to house security personnel could cost $1.5 million a year, about $4,100 for each day they stay there. I wonder who collects that rent?
According to The Washington Post, “the elaborate lifestyle of America’s first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for previous presidents.” Just to get a picture of what Trump spends on our dime, he will likely cost taxpayers more in one month than President Obama did over the eight years of his presidency.
Since our current POTUS claims he is very, very, very rich, a billionaire, could he not pay for some of these expenses himself? Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year on what it costs to pay for trips to what Trump calls his Winter White House alone.
Maybe we should ask that single mom in Detroit (we know what Trump means by this) if she would rather have her money spent on defense or on programs to feed hungry children? Or if she minds not having access to Sesame Street for her kids because she doesn’t have HBO on cable and free PBS shows for her kids have disappeared.
When my mother-in-law was living independently and still driving, one of the greatest joys of her life was delivering meals on wheels to seniors less fortunate than she. While the food was essential to keep housebound older folks out of costly nursing homes, she told us the even greater benefit was to provide these people with company. And she felt proud to be doing something so useful. A simple and not that expensive program that Trump and Mulvaney feel cannot be justified because there is no way to prove it is useful.
So, the message to hungry children and lonely seniors is let them eat cake or maybe let them play golf if they need some relief from the daily stresses in their lives. What ever happened to doing the right thing?