Budget blueprint a dangerous negotiation

By Breanne Williams, COLUMNIST
On March 21, 2017

President Donald Trump's fist budget blueprint proposes major cuts to multiple institutions and programs and a heavy increase to defense spending. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

President Donald Trump released his first budget blueprint Thursday, which detailed exactly how he hopes to make America great again. The plan? Cut funding to the arts, the State Department and the environment — to name a few — and throw it all at the defense budget.

Trump has decided to make drastic cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Agriculture Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education, ranging from a 13 to 31 percent funding reduction respectively.

He also decided citizens couldn’t be expected to fund such worthless agencies and programs like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts.

After all, health, arts and the general advancement of knowledge isn’t essential to a prospering nation. But ensuring our “nuclear” is “tippy-top” obviously directly correlates with launching us once again to greatness.

Failing to take academics, the arts and even corporations like public broadcasting seriously will result in the dumbing down of the future generations of America. And the last thing we need is a heavily armed, uneducated public or government.

A report by Americans for the Arts found children who are regularly involved in the arts are four times more likely to excel academically than those who did not participate.

Arts drive tourism, are great for local merchants and strengthens the economy.

“The industry generated $135.2 billion of economic activity—$61.1 billion by the nation's nonprofit arts and culture organizations in addition to $74.1 billion in event-related expenditures by their audiences,” according to a study by Americans for the Arts. “This economic activity supports 4.13 million full-time jobs and generates $86.68 billion in resident household income. Our industry also generates $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year.”

Not to mention, many of the cuts Trump is so casually recommending we make will hurt a large portion of the very constituents who voted for him.

The agriculture industry is supplying millions of jobs in states that heavily went red in November. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is also on its way out if Trump’s plan is approved, impacts multiple red states.

Rural airports will no longer be funded, Meals on Wheels, NASA’s office of education and many others are going to be completely gutted.

Realistically, this first plan is only a skeleton of what will eventually be approved. It has to go through Congress and even Republicans have begun to question the logic behind some of the proposed cuts.

“While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the President’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.) said farm income was already down 50 percent from 4 years ago and that farmers couldn’t face another hit.

Representative Charlie Dent, a Republican appropriator from Pennsylvania, said financing defense off the back of domestic, nondefense spending was “not realistic and unfair.”

Trump is a businessman. His most ardent supporters are saying this proposal is just how one begins a bargaining process, that Trump will ultimately come out on top and help the country grow without major cuts to important programs.

But it is an unsettling negotiation when the chips being so carelessly tossed about can impact millions of lives. Hopefully Congress will be able to find a compromise that will protect the public and still meet the goals Trump wishes to achieve.

If that compromise doesn’t come, or worse, if the major aspects of this budget are approved, many of those who will first bear the brunt of its repercussions will be those swept him into the White House. If he punishes his devotees he’ll soon find resistance from not only the “raging liberals” but the downtrodden conservatives as well.

 

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