Donald Trump is trying to prove what we already know: If you feed seniors less you save money; if you let them die you save money on healthcare; if you cut funds for education and child nutrition programs you save money; and if you cut funding and access to the arts, people’s souls die but you save money.
In the alternate universe of the Trump administration we have a president and a Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney who intend to double down on these truths producing a budget blueprint that will foist these things on the neediest — our young, the disabled, the poor and the elderly.
When introducing this budget blueprint and defending it, Mulvaney said, “We can cut Meals on Wheels and after-school nutrition programs because those programs aren’t showing any results.” To all those poor seniors who voted for Trump or stayed home and didn’t vote you now see the result of your actions and know instead of paying for a meal for you the United States might build a new battleship instead. Problem is you may not live long enough to see it when you consider Trump is also trying to make your healthcare unaffordable.
Mulvaney went on to talk about children’s nutrition programs saying, “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 programs, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.” So since these programs show no results according to Mulvaney he goes on to tell people, “we won’t spend your hard-earned tax money on them and that is about as compassionate as you can get.” Only in Trump’s alternate universe would allowing children and seniors to go hungry be considered compassionate. Even during the worst of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” we didn’t see this.
In addition, the proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development make it harder for cities to ensure affordable housing for people in need and the population as a whole will be breathing dirtier air and drinking potentially less pure water. These cuts will lead to worse health outcomes for families and a poorer education for children.
If the proposed replacement of the ACA, fully supported by Trump, and currently working its way through Congress were to pass, the CBO estimates it will leave 14 million more people without health insurance next year. Added together all these budget cuts have the makings of an epic crisis.
The Republican Party is no longer the Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan. It is now the party of Trump, Bannon, Ryan, Mulvaney and a host of other alt-right individuals either elected by the Tea Party or brought into the White House and federal agencies by Trump. Their vision for America is a nation with a withered heart and faltering global economy. It is a vision for an America that no longer leads the free world nor is a haven for those who are discriminated against and persecuted in other countries around the world. It is no longer the America where those who arrive by ship in New York harbor see the Statue of Liberty for the first time and read on it the words of the poem by Emma Lazarus, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
If we aren’t vigilant and resist, the Trump administration will replace those words with a large sign reading “Keep out! Here we only care about the wealthy and those white people who can fend for themselves.”
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.