The budget just released by the Trump Administration reads like a detailed blueprint for wrecking the country – with choices that seem almost intentionally aimed at shortening lifespans, impeding science and innovation, slowing the economy, stifling creativity, increasing the risk of war, harming the vulnerable, and imperiling the welfare of future generations.
How else can one explain the draconian and unprecedented proposed cuts to the EPA, the National Institutes of Health, the State Department, climate change research, mass transit, the National Endowments for the Humanities and the Arts, etc.? And all that comes on top of the GOP health care bill, which is projected to strip 24 million Americans of medical insurance.
These truly shocking, cruel, and self-defeating cuts would help pay for a huge increase in military spending that seems to have no strategic logic whatsoever and is best understood as simple chest-thumping. (The cuts would also free up some money for President Trump’s disgusting and pointless border wall.)
Others are better suited to comment on the national and global implications of this catastrophic spending plan. Let me concentrate on one little piece that has received less attention, but which would be simply devastating for communities like New Rochelle: the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG.)
For decades, the CDBG program, with strong bipartisan support, has been a lifeline for cities, helping to promote economic development, job creation, business assistance, and infrastructure investment, while also offering resources for social service providers.
Here in New Rochelle, we receive nearly $1.5 million every year from the CDBG program. Without this funding, investments in economic growth will have to be scaled back and/or local property taxes will have to increase to make up the difference. Everyone loses.
For local not-for-profits, the news would be grim. Here’s just a small sampling of the groups and programs that would be zeroed out: Meals-on-Wheels, HOPE Community Services, senior recreation, the Parent-Child Center, minicamp for disabled youngsters, summer youth employment, the Lincoln Park community garden, and on and on and on.
Fortunately, the budget is being described as “dead on arrival” by sources in Congress. I hope that’s true, but I am still fearful. Even as an opening-bid, it is a horrifying document and a unsettling window into the Trump Administration’s ambitions. If a fraction of it gets passed, the effect will be awful.
Who supports this? Do these cuts reflect the interests and values of most Americans? Who actually thinks this budget is a good idea?