White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’
President Trump’s new budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion — while slashing funding for medical research, climate science, public housing, education, aid to the indigent, infrastructure, and many, many other things.
On Thursday morning, the White House’s budget director Mick Mulvaney explained that these changes were inspired by one, simple question (external - login to view)
: “Can we ask the taxpayer to pay for this?”
“When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was, can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs? The answer was no,” Mulvaney said. “We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”
This was a bizarre defense of the Trump budget
for several reasons. To name just three:
(1) The U.S. already spends more more on its military (external - login to view)
than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, India, and Germany — combined. By contrast, America spends far less than its peers (per capita) on many of the initiatives that the Trump’s budget cuts.
(2) Trump’s proposal cuts many programs (external - login to view)
that are more intuitively valuable to coal miners in West Virginia — and single mothers in Detroit — than a 10 percent increase in defense spending. The president’s budget cuts funding for early-childhood education, public housing, transit, food assistance, and job training — all programs that disproportionately benefit single mothers in cities with low median incomes. And it also abolishes the Appalachian Regional Commission and Rural Business-Cooperative Service, while shrinking the Labor Department — all moves that disadvantage coal miners.
(3) If the White House feels bad about taking money from coal miners and single mothers, then why is one of its top priorities to pass an enormous, regressive tax cut?
“Just to follow-up on that, you were talking about the steel worker in Ohio, coal worker in Pennsylvania, but they may have an elderly mother who depends on the Meals on Wheels program or who may have kids in Head Start,” Acosta said. “Yesterday, or the day before, you described this as a hard-power budget. Is it also a hard-hearted budget?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Mulvaney replied. “I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”
“To cut programs that help the elderly and kids?” Acosta asked, incredulously.
White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is (external - login to view)