The Expendables

“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value,” former Vice President Joe Biden said throughout the 2012 campaign. On Thursday, President Trump showed the American people what he valued when he unveiled his budget blueprint… unfortunately, it wasn’t them.

Jon Elswick:AP

Credit: Jon Elswick/AP

Trump’s “skinny budget,” includes massive cuts to the EPA (31%), State Department (29%), Agriculture Department (21%) and the Department of Health and Human Services (18%).

Trump’s cuts to Health and Human Services would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which is where programs like Meals on Wheels receive partial funding.

States determine how to use the CDBG, which makes it difficult to forecast the full effect of Trump’s cuts on the Meals on Wheels individual state programs.

In my home state of Iowa, the CDBG is used toward “public facilities such as water and sewer facilities and community buildings; housing rehabilitation; and economic development and job training.”

My current town of Los Angeles does use the CDBG for Meals on Wheels. It also uses it to fund youth programs, parenting programs and child care, drug intervention and domestic violence programs, graffiti removal and construction of new public facilities.


Credit: Heidi De Marco/Kaiser Health News

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended cutting the CDBG program during last Thursday’s press conference:

“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. And Meals on Wheels sounds great – again, that’s a state decision to fund that particular portion to. But to take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don’t work – I can’t defend that anymore.”

That’s bullshit.

In a 2012 report, the Government Accountability Office concluded: “…few comprehensive studies on the impact of the CDBG and HOME programs exist, but studies that focused on specific activities have generally found that each of the programs has made positive contributions.”

Trump’s budget also eliminates the Chemical Safety Board. This is an odd decision, considering Trump touted his America First budget as making safety a “no. 1 priority” on Twitter.

The CSB investigates such accidents as 2005’s Texas City Refinery explosion, which killed 15 workers and injured 180 people. The CSB’s investigation led to new regulatory recommendations to prevent a similar disaster in the future.

“The CSB is probably one of the best deals in Washington in terms of spending the taxpayer’s money,” Mike Wright, Director of safety of the United Steelworkers union, told the Houston Chronicle.

Trump’s cuts to the Department of Agriculture will insure refineries are not the only thing unsafe in Trump’s America.

The budget blueprint eliminates funding for the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The program funds clean drinking water, sanitary solid waste disposal and storm water drainage to households and businesses in rural areas.

Under the America First budget, you’re going to be checking your tap water as if you’re Kurt Russell stranded in an Antarctica research facility.


Credit: Universal Pictures

Nor does the budget doesn’t do any favors to those who won Trump the election in the Appalachian regions (I’m looking at you, Pennsylvania).

Unlike Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has not proposed a $30 billion plan to guarantee coal miners and their families continue to receive benefits. Instead, he decided to eliminate funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission. The ARC works to strengthen economic conditions in the 13 Appalachian states.

In January, the ARC announced plans to invest $26 million in communities negatively affected by the changing coal economy.

Trump’s infamous “What the hell do you have to lose?” campaign pitch to African Americans is answered in his budget: the African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

The USADF invests grants in African-owned businesses in vulnerable African communities. The foundation strengthens relations with the continent and greatly benefits the people of Africa.

The MBDA promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses. According to the MBDA, minority-owned businesses contribute over $1.4 trillion annually to the nation’s economic output and employ 7.2 million people.

The budget also proposes to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR.

Eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts would also end programs like the NEA Military Healing Arts Partnership, which offers creative art therapy programs for wounded and ill service members.

Why is the administration proposing cuts that will have a negative impact on our environment and American citizens? To build a wall along our southern border and increase military spending.


Credit: NDTV

Recent years have shown a net loss in immigration from Mexico, which makes building a border wall an incredibly frustrating waste of taxpayer money. Although the final price is estimated as high as $25 billion, Trump wants Congress to approve a $2.6 billion downpayment.

Trump also wants $80 million to hire 75 additional immigration judges to handle removal proceedings for illegal immigrants. Perhaps someone on his staff could point him to last week’s CNN poll showing 90% of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who speak English and hold a job. Ivanka? Chachi?

Trump also wants to increase defense spending by $54 billion. Contrary to what Trump believes, our military is far from depleted. Our nation spends more on defense than these next seven countries combined: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK and India.

The increase is certainly not to offer foreign aid to our allies, which would contradict Trump’s isolationist inaugural address in January:

“From the day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only, ‘America First.’”

Donald Trump is using our budget to compete in the world’s largest dick measuring contest.

Trump’s deep budget cuts deliver on chief strategist Steve Bannon’s declaration from the CPAC stage in February, of the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Bannon has his arm so far up Trump’s ass, they could open for Jeff Dunham at Caesars Palace.  Bannon’s fingerprints are all over this budget.

In a piece published last August, The Daily Beast contributor Ronald Radosh recalled a statement from Bannon during an exchange at a book party in 2013:

“I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Make no mistake; we’re watching the dismantling of our current government by this administration.

Trump’s budget is less like a step toward the utopian future depicted in Star Trek and more like a prequel to Soylent Green.

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