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Reality Sinks In

Really now: What did you expect?

The great know-nothing Donald Trump is president, having run on an incoherent mixture of lies, half-truths, innuendo, sexism, nationalism, xeno- and Islamophobia and promises about jobs that he couldn’t possible keep. Add in an ultra right wing Congress that’s committed itself to acting first and thinking about consequences later. And what do get get?

Our present reality.

Yes, I know that the Trump budget will never pass as it is currently constructed, but it still does provide a framework from which the Republicans can build their cuts and aggressively apply their ideology, which assumes that the best budget Congress ever passed was in 1790 when the federal government was appropriately small and anyone who wanted a gun could have one (and abortion, by the way, was still legal up to about 15-20 weeks of pregnancy). Many of the programs on the chopping block are ones used by Trump voters who are struggling economically and need some government support to stay alive or to keep their jobs.

And the proposed cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will devastate many state and educational arts programs for people who live outside areas that have museums or universities that promote the arts. Many teachers also use the endowments for educational purposes in K-12 classrooms and for their own academic enrichment throughout the school year and in the summer. To say there is no place anywhere in the federal budget for these programs is a capitulation to ignorance. The arts and humanities, and public television and radio, provide services that are vital and should be insulated from the ravages of competition because they promote ideas that sometimes aren’t prized by the market until they are introduced, viewed or broadcast.

Are there programs that could and should be cut? Yes. Many federal programs overlap or have outlived their usefulness, but many have not and even if they serve a small population, if that population depends on that program, it’s up to the government to provide an alternative or a path forward for those people. Otherwise, citizens will lose their jobs, their education, their heat, their health insurance, or their lives. All in the name of increased military spending.

But the true moral bankruptcy of the GOP is their proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Their argument seems to be that it’s OK for 24 million fewer people to have health insurance as long as the wealthy get their tax break and we can save over $300 billion over ten years to fund it. And the extra bonus is that by 2026 (!) health insurance premiums will be approximately 10% cheaper.

Where do I sign up?

I can certainly understand an appreciate that there are conservative voters who voted for this, want these cuts, and believe that the federal government has grown too large. Those who voted for Trump based on his promises, though, should be extremely wary at this point. Many of them are going to get much less than they bargained for domestically and in lost international trade because of this budget and his actions.

A shrinking America is not, and never will be, a great America.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest