By Rebekah Devorak | Shivani Gosai
If all goes well for President Donald Trump’s plan, we’ll shortly be living in a very different type of America. And for most, even those who voted for Trump in the first place, that’s not going to be a good thing.
The Trump administration released a proposed budget for 2018 last Thursday, bursting with significant cuts to dozens of programs. This document – entitled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” – included slashing funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Education and – if you can believe it – more.
Trump is using the cuts to bolster national security efforts and “the rebuilding of our nation’s military” by increasing funding to Homeland Security (by 7 percent), the Department of Defense (by 10 percent) and Veteran’s Affairs (by 4 percent).
There are several concerns with Trump’s proposed budget. For starters, it is baffling that the president would opt to cut or entirely eliminate funding to literally dozens of fruitful programs to increase spending for the Department of Defense by $52 billion. This is when, according to The New York Times, the United States already has the largest military budget of any other nation.
This money will also be used to start construction on a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. But these cuts to get our nation a glorified pile of wood and an angry neighbor to the south will come in part from the elimination of other post-9/11 safety programs, such as training to help Transportation Security Administration employees recognize erratic passenger behavior and government funding to allow for local law enforcement to police airports.
For a president who is supposedly so fretful about keeping America terrorist-free, it doesn’t seem logical for him to propose cuts to airport safety programs. But then again, illogical reasoning seems to be what Trump does best.
According to the budget blueprint, Trump’s goal was to rebuild the military without adding to the U.S.’s deficit, a move that will leave the African Development Foundation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and more completely defunded.
That also includes the United States Institute of Peace, because who needs that?
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney justified these cuts by saying, “One of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation of Public Broadcast.”
Not only does that statement severely stereotype the average blue-collar American as being completely disinterested – or worse, unable to see the value – in public television or the arts, but it shows how completely disillusioned the Trump administration really is.
America might have the largest military in the world, but that’s not what makes this country great. It’s what makes this country complicated. What makes America great, the phrase Trump loves to harp on again and again, is the diversity of the people of this nation. The rich culture. The ability to work hard and achieve dreams from all different sectors and interests. That can’t happen without these programs that Trump is threatening to eliminate and cut.
Trump said in the opening of the budget document that his intention was to provide “a government that puts the needs of its own people first.” By doing that, this nation will “set free the dreams of every American and … begin a new chapter of American greatness.”
If the president really wants to put his people first, he should know that this budget is doing the exact opposite of that. With this budget, he is only putting the selfish views of him and his administration first.
If this budget passes as-is, America will be the furthest from greatness it has ever been.