What about the “forgotten men and women” Donald Trump talked about on the campaign trail?
With the federal budget he unveiled Thursday, President Trump showed he wants to make sure they remain forgotten.
The laid-off worker in Western Maryland who needs job retraining? The family desperate for an affordable place to live in the nation’s capital? The watermen whose livelihoods depend on a clean Chesapeake Bay? The child with a rare form of cancer who needs treatment at the National Institutes of Health?
They’d all get less help from this president, not more. It’s a budget with no heart, no humanity.
The Trump administration proposes deep cuts in job training, affordable housing, environmental protection, medical research, and programs that help the poor and assist those struggling in rural areas.
Forget about all of them.
The increases? Defense spending would skyrocket by $54 billion, that border wall that Trump promised Mexico will pay for would cost Americans $2.6 billion, and a school choice program would invest $1.4 billion of taxpayer money into private schools.
There’s no shortage of irony and outrage to explore here. Or as my Post colleague Drew Harwell tweeted, “Today: Trump proposes massive cuts in medical research and Meals on Wheels. Tomorrow: Trump begins fifth publicly funded trip to Mar-a-Lago.”
We shell out about $3.3 million every time the president gases up Air Force One and heads to Florida for the weekend. That’s an interesting way to spend our money, forgotten ones.
Even if Congress refuses to go along with many of these cuts, budgets reflect values. Where we spend our own money speaks to priorities in our households or businesses.
A forward-thinking tech company might devote a huge part of its budget to research and development.
A couple with strong religious values might put a chunk of their income toward charities and parochial schools.
My family’s budget reveals a commitment to my sons’ education and activities, a deep connection to cellular service, and an unreasonable love of sushi and nicotine gum.
These are the things we see as important — they reflect who we are.
But this colder-than-a-frozen-cherry blossom-in-March Trump budget? It shows an America that few Americans recognize.
Here’s one example.
Trump proposes killing the small but successful Minority Business Development Agency, a program created by Richard M. Nixon in 1969. It’s a $30 million agency that last year, according to its annual report, worked to create 7,500 new jobs, generate $3.5 billion in contracts and helped grow 5.8 million minority-owned companies.
To put that in perspective, the same amount of taxpayer money covers the security required to guard New York’s Trump Tower for two months.
How can it be okay to slash money for the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program — part of cuts to Agriculture Department that would total nearly $5 billion?
Who could support gutting more than $6 billion from community block grants, investment partnerships, affordable housing and homeownership support programs in a nation with more than half a million homeless people? Sixteen states saw their homeless populations rise over the past year.
This budget says the White House doesn’t care about pregnant women, farmers, first-time home buyers, senior citizens, the unemployed, artists, public school teachers and scientists.
What part of America is going to be great again with a budget that stops investing in the country’s greatest asset — its people?
Forget about them?
I don’t think so.
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