As a nation we need to ask one question. What type of country are we willing to become? Ever since trump won the election, that question has been at the top of everything he has proposed. And, in my opinion, he is looking for something that has not been America.
He has pitted race against race, religion against religion, and rich against poor. We have always had problems in these areas, but he has ramped them up to a point where your race, your religion, and your wealth is the determining factor of whether you are a winner or a loser in his America.
He has tried to place a limited Muslim Ban on travel to the U.S. twice now, and he was rejected by the courts twice. He claims that is all in the name of “keeping Americans safe” but he always runs his mouth and shows that it is really based on religion, which is unconstitutional. His administration doesn’t help either with their rants about how Muslims are the root of all of our problems.
Then we have the so-called “Obamacare Repeal and Replace” legislation trying to get out of the house. The CBO scored it and there are some good things and some bad thing for both sides. The good for Republicans is it says that it will reduce the budget by $337 billion over ten years. The bad for everybody is that 24 million people will lose their health care over the same 10 years. The White House memo says that 26 million people will lose their health care over that 10 year period.
It is also becoming apparent even to Paul Ryan that the bill as written cannot get out of the House. His problem is that in order to get out of the house he needs to take it even further right. But, in order to get it through the Senate it needs to go further left. It would seem that he has painted himself into a corner, and trump seems willing to let him blow in the wind over it as well.
Now we are seeing trump’s first budget. This budget shows us just what kind of country trump wants us to have. A country with no culture, no heritage, no sympathy, no decency, just more military and more bullets.
Naturally, there is the huge increase in defense spending and a huge increase in DHS budget for mass deportations and his Berlin Wall. But there are still huge cuts for the Coast Guard, the TSA, and FEMA.
The Coast Guard is really our front line defense for our borders in terms of drug trafficking and people trafficking, as well as our port security. The TSA is supposed to make us safe while flying FEMA is the agency that responds to natural disasters, and in case you didn’t know, they are responsible to coordinate relief work in case of a wide-scale terrorist attack. Who needs these agencies? Apparently not trump.
But it gets even worse. HUD will lose $3 Billion in its budget. Number one on the hit parade from HUD will be a small program called “Meals on Wheels”. All funding will go away to help old and disabled people get food delivered to them. There will also be the elimination of the heating help funding for poor and older Americans.
The State Department will lose 28 percent of its budget. The EPA will be hit hardest with a 31.4 percent cut to its budget. What will be taken away is 3200 jobs and eliminate a new plan for tighter regulations on power plants, and “zero out” programs to clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay.
Health and Human Services is facing a 16.2 percent cut. These include cuts of $5.8 billion from the nearly $32 billion National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research agency. The NIH’s budget has not kept up with inflation as it is, and now trump wants to cut it even more. This is the agency the does research on diseases to help us defeat things like cancer or stop pandemics before they get going too bad. But then, since fewer people will have health insurance, who needs research?
The Department of Labor is facing a 20 percent cut. These cuts include eliminating a federal program designed to help people 55 and older get new jobs. The Labor Department is also supposed to protect your safety at work. OSHA will see a huge cut in its budge meaning fewer inspections of workplace safety.
The Commerce Department is facing a 12 percent cut. One of the biggest will be at NOAA. These cuts would eliminate more than $250 million in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants, including a program that helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, deal with invasive species and maintain healthy water and fisheries. Also on the chopping block: the Economic Development Administration, which provides federal dollars to foster job creation and attract private investment; and the Minority Business Development Agency, which is dedicated to helping minority-owned business get off the ground and grow.
Other independent agencies will be cut off completely and be forced to shut down. These include the Public Broadcasting Corporation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Chemical Safety Board, the United States Institute of Peace, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for National Community Service and the African Development Foundation. That foundation was established by Congress and provides seed money and other support to enterprises in some 20 countries on that continent.
I guess Big Bird is on the chopping block, again. We really need to do away with things like education for young children and eliminating the arts for everyone else. What kind of country needs those things? And, chemical safety is definitely not needed since we can trust the Koch Brothers to protect us from harmful chemicals.
These are just some of the cuts that trump wants to make to the budget. Of course, Republicans will tell you how much this budget will save money, but they will leave out their upcoming massive cut taxes, especially on the rich. That means, even with these cuts, the deficit will grow even more than it is.
However, this also brings us back to the question I asked at the beginning. What type of country are we willing to become? All of these cuts affect the average person. All of these cuts will have a negative impact on just about every American who is not in the top 2 percent of income brackets.
The Department of Education is also facing cuts and the biggest target is support for before and after school programs. How is that helping the middle-class and the working poor? It doesn’t and it will affect you directly.
There has always been a kind of pride in Americans and their willingness to help those in need. Are we going to let that one trait of ours go away? Are we going to stand by and let the unfortunate become poorer while the rich get richer?
Just how are the poor, the working poor, and the middle-class going to get ahead if they need to spend more income on things like expensive child care that will only keep them back? As silly as some of you think, the Public Broadcasting Corporation helps educate children before they start school. Are we going to handicap poor people’s children just to save a few dollars?
Before and after school programs allow parents to keep working to support their families and help keep kids off of the streets thus getting into trouble. Should we really eliminate that funding as well?
The same people who want these cuts to take effect are the same people who claim that America was founded on “Christian Principles”. Really? These cuts to the social fabric of our nation are examples of “Christian Principles”? If it is I am glad I am not Christian.
The health insurance argument really sums it up best. The real question isn’t about liberalism v. conservatism. It isn’t about right v. left. It is about one simple question. Is health care a right or a privilege? If you believe it is a right that everyone deserves health care, then you must support universal health care because that is the only way people will actually have affordable health care coverage.
If you believe that it is a privilege then you fully support the Republican plan. You are saying openly and defiantly that health care only belongs to those who can pay for it out-of-pocket. If you cannot afford it out-of-pocket, you don’t deserve it.
If you believe that health care is a privilege, then you are surely in favor of all of these social cuts to the budget as well. If health care is a privilege then so is clean air and water. So is workplace safety. So is being warned about weather events that may hurt or kill us. So is medical research.
Those are some areas where these cuts are most felt. The disadvantaged are being targeted so trump can have a massive military buildup. They are being targeted so the rich can get more massive tax cuts. Trump is telling his supporters who will be hardest hit, “screw you, I won”.
Of course it still needs to get through Congress. We know that Democrats will be against most of these cuts, if not all of them. We can only hope they are able to kill this budget before it kills too many of us.
If you believe that the disadvantaged should be abandoned and left to die, then trump is your president and the Republicans are your party. But, I would suggest you stop your “Christian Principles” argument because you are not only lying to us, you are lying to yourself. “What you do unto the least of you, you also do unto me”.
So far, I believe that this administration and Republican Controlled Congress want to abandon the disadvantaged. They are only interested in the wealthy. To me, that lacks all decency. This budget is a snap shot of that lack of decency and moral fiber. It is a perfect example of greed and a “me first” attitude.
So much for Christian Principles.
And, the shirts keep marching along.