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Trump’s budget plan leaves little to the imagination

Written By Lauren Ortego, Co-Copy Desk Chief

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Recently, President Trump has announced his first budget plan revealing which government-funded programs will lose or gain funding, effectively showing Americans, and the world, what he and his administration value most.

Under Trump’s proposed budget plan, and I remind you that this is just his “wish list” of sorts and not yet set in stone, the military receives the most increases. Trump has suggested a 10 percent increase in the defense budget, the National Nuclear Security Administration has a proposed 11.3 percent growth and a 6.8 percent increase in Homeland Security, give or take a few others.

This is not surprising, especially after Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters in a brief the budget was written using the president’s own words gathered from speeches he’s given.

That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Wrong. Buried within the proposal is the following, “The President’s 2018 Budget: Secures the borders of the United States by investing $2.6 billion in high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology, including funding to plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border…”

That’s right, America. We’re paying for the wall. So what is it that we are sacrificing in order to build a wall immigrants will just fly over?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces a 31.4 percent cut, taking with it 3,200 jobs and a plan to all but eliminate programs created to clean up the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. Health and Human Services, you know, the people who conduct research on diseases and disorders, take a proposed 16.2 percent hit. The Labor Department will take a more than 20 percent cut, the Agriculture Department a 21 percent cut, the Transportation Department comes in at a cut of about 13 percent and let’s not forget after-school programs.

That’s right… after-school programs. Trump’s plan proposes to eliminate the $1.2 billion initiative that supports before and after-school programs.

When I put it like that, it sounds kind of bad. Let me make it worse.

Unsurprisingly included in the proposed budget plan is a 100 percent funding cut for 19 federal agencies. These agencies include the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds public broadcast networks such as PBS and NPR, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness among many others.

In an unfortunately unsurprising turn of events, the NEH’s and NEA’s $148 million budgets, which may I remind you is only .003 percent of the entire federal budget, would each be eliminated.

“How could this get any more heartbreaking?” you ask. Here’s how: the budget blueprint additionally outlined a plan to cut funding for the Community Development Block Grant program.

Wondering what that is?

It’s a program that provides partial funding for local Meals on Wheels, a program that, according to its website, “is committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.”

Senior citizens. Really, Donald?

These cuts are lazy. They’re proposed to be made to programs that take up little to none of the pie that is government spending.

Look, I get it. I get that this blueprint is more of a political document than an actual budget plan. It’s meant to send a message about what the president values and where he stands on issues like whether or not Americans should have access to public media and the importance of the arts in society.

What’s worse – none of this is surprising. There has not been a day in the very long two months Trump has spent as president that I haven’t woken up to some outrageous thing he’s done or said in the early hours of the morning on Twitter.

I have become numb to his foolishness, and that’s scary.

If we, as a country, can look at ourselves and say with pride that we value nuclear weapons and building a wall over hungry seniors, poor school children, public media, the arts, the sciences and the environment, what have we become?

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