I said my blog wouldn’t be political. And the main blog page here will not be. It will continue to be reflections about books, education, health, words, etc. However, there are days I must take Jon Stewart’s advice, “The best defense against bullshit is vigilance. So if you smell something, say something.” So it is here on my “As I See It” page that I will say something.
“Sounds Like a Good Plan To Me” – Really?
Regardless of your political leanings, I urge you to seriously look at the new budget. Educate yourself. Don’t automatically and blindly be led by whatever media you follow. Read from and listen to all of the sources out there. In particular, do some research and know what each governmental department does and who their programs serve. See what this budget actually cuts and what those cuts will mean to you, your neighbors, your family. I suggested doing some reading with a link to a post that showed the % of the cuts by department. I had a response that “it looks like a good plan to me.” Really? Cutting food to senior citizens and children passes muster with you?
Discontinuing Meals on Wheels for senior citizens is okay? Let them starve? The White House Office of Management Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, says, “We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great. […] I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore.” His argument is that there is no return on the money. Feeding our elderly who are no longer physically capable of doing so themselves should require a return on the money?! Really?
How about feeding children? Here’s what he said about school lunch programs (and I assume breakfast programs), “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no evidence they’re helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what — when we took your money from you to say, we’re going to spend them on after-school program, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.” Really?
[As a side note here, I would argue that, after reading things written by way too many people in this White House, I believe they aren’t getting a return on the money they spent on college either. They cannot write a grammatically correct, coherent sentence and stay on topic. Sometimes they can’t even write a sentence – you know with a subject and a verb!]
To many people, hearing that funding for the arts is being cut means nothing. They hear from time to time about a controversial artist receiving money and don’t think that his stuff is “art.” However, the arts spending supports things that you and your neighbors use. Your public libraries. The museums of the Smithsonian Institution and others. It supports PBS with Sesame Street, wonderful historical documentaries by Ken Burns, science programming like NOVA.
Here’s a rundown of the money spent on the programs that are to be done away with (according to time.com).
- The money spent for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS) amounts to an annual cost of $1.37 per American. These are the folks that bring you Sesame Street, wonderful historical documentaries by Ken Burns, science programming like NOVA. The CPB also does work within communities for literacy, for children, for veterans. They sponsor job fairs and community events. ($445 million per year)
- The National Endowment for the Arts costs each American $0.46. In return for you half dollar artists and their projects are supported. Some of these include photographing our National Parks and historic sites for historical record and programs that allow children to participate in arts programs. ($150 million)
- National Endowment for the Humanities comes in at another whopping $0.46. This investment brings you museums, colleges, and libraries. It supports the creation of those documentaries by Ken Burns and many other worthwhile projects. ($150 million)
- The Minority Business Development Agency helps minority-owned businesses to get on their feet and have a chance at success. Not a minority, so it doesn’t help you? Well, it doesn’t hurt you much either. It costs Americans $0.11 – yep, not even 25 cents from each of us and helping do a world of good for people looking for support in standing on their own. ($36 million)
- The Office of Violence Against Women gets about $1.48 from each of us in exchange for programs that reduce violence, rape, abuse including support for police training and coverage. ($480 million)
- Read about more of the programs mentioned in this one article at http://time.com/money/4639544/trump-nea-sesame-street-budget-cut/
Go into each of the federal departments and look at what they do before you make a decision on how good this budget is. It is very easy to find wasted money on things; however, it is also very easy to see that there are programs that are needed and will hurt many if they disappear. The poor. Those living in rural areas. The infirm. Those with disabilities. These could be hurt first.
Here’s a sampling of the departments being cut. Look at this very small list of items that are potentially on the chopping block. Don’t assume that anything is safe – I mean, really, who would have thought someone could call cutting off meals to elderly, infirm Americans a “compassionate” act, but Mick Mulvaney has called it just that.
Health and Human Services (HHS): covers programs like
- Head Start,
- Foster care & adoption,
- Programs for people with disabilities
- Programs for senior citizens
- Meals on Wheels
- Supporting military families
- Food and drug safety
- Safety from violence & abuse
Department of the Interior – includes
- National Park Service
- U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Department of State – handles
- Passports and travel – including safety watches/warnings
- Diplomatic security efforts
- Arms controls
- Human rights
- Narcotics and law enforcement
- Efforts to stop human trafficking (and don’t think it doesn’t happen here!)
- Women’s issues
Department of Justice
- U.S. Marshalls
- U.S. Attorneys
- Children’s defense
Department of Agriculture
- Forest Service
- Food inspection (Animal & Plant)
- Rural Development
- Agricultural Research
We are looking at not feeding people, cutting access to libraries, and giving up on the fight to stop violence against women because we can’t afford them? Even in the departments not being cut overall, there are significant cuts. As we try to keep America safe, the budget is going to cut state and local police, security at large events, training to fight terrorism.
But we can afford $3 million dollars for each weekend 45 spends in Florida – he’s there for the seventh time this weekend. We can pay a very large sum of money securing Trump Tower so that a child doesn’t have to switch schools mid year. (And that doesn’t count the money Palm Springs and New York City have been paying and the money local businesses have been losing.) We can spend $21.6 billion on a wall that we were promised we wouldn’t have to pay for.
The poor and working class people thought he was going to help them out. That’s why they voted for him. Tucker Carlson (FOX News) asked Trump if he knew that some of his policies were going to hurt the people who voted for him, the ones he promised to protect. Here’s the quote:
Tucker Carlson: “The counties who voted for you will do far worse under your plan”
Donald Trump: “Oh, I know…”