Draconian Cuts

Apr 24, 2017

To the Editor:

The Trump administration’s federal budget for 2017-18 proposes to slash everything except for the military-related departments of Defense (an additional $522 billion), Homeland Security (additional $42 billion) and Veterans Affairs (additional $75 billion). Defense alone gets a 10 percent increase.

The cuts, conversely, focus like a laser on domestically oriented departments critical to ordinary people. Ironically enough, many of Donald Trump’s awakening working class supporters suddenly, now that the election is over, will be as dispensable as the agencies and programs serving them. 

High on the administration’s departmental hit list are the following: Health and Human Services (with a funding decrease of 16 percent), Labor (21 percent less), Housing and Urban Development (12 percent less), Education (14 percent less) and Transportation (13 percent less).  

Meanwhile, the State Department (with 29 percent less funding) is given what can only be described as an institutional death sentence, as is the Environmental Protection Agency (31 percent less). Evidently, we need neither a foreign policy nor a livable environment.

The mad hatter behind these draconian reductions is Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s appointed budget director, a very conservative former Republican congressman from South Carolina who once said, “We have to end Medicare as we know it.” He hasn’t gotten around to that yet, but he has slated for total elimination the Legal Services Corp., the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and the Interagency Council on Homelessness, to name a few.

Imagine our nation with one-third less environmental protection. What would you sacrifice? Clean air or clean water? Which pollutants are you willing to live with in the environment? Say goodbye to the entire program for climate change, programs on indoor air quality, a program on radiation protection and so on.

Gone with them are jobs, hundreds of jobs. Did Trump say he was going to be “the greatest jobs president”?

This budget is not a political program; it is an exercise in vindictiveness that was always there and has now risen to the surface. It is also not an aberration, but a representative statement of values reactionary Republicans have long held but were reluctant to express openly. Now they are launching a veritable war against every program of FDR’s “New Deal,” which brought this country out of the Great Depression. 

How to resist these mounting crises? Our greatest strength is in our ability to organize and mobilize millions of people around issues and progressive solutions, mounting campaigns all across our nation to elect progressive candidates, pass initiatives and enact reforms in our communities. A people’s resistance movement is now growing by the millions across our land.

Carole Marks

Barnegat Light


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