During his campaign efforts and in the months following the election, President Donald Trump made it clear that he wished to eliminate various social programs, cut taxes, get rid of regulations, and reduce the government’s size while spending billions to increase the country’s defense program.
The numerous cuts within his recent budget proposal prove he intends to follow through on his promises.
“Meals on Wheels”, a federally funded program that provides nutrition to thousands of seniors throughout the country, is among the programs on the chopping block. The program reaches seniors in rural and urban areas across America and supports over 5,000 community organizations.
Until now, every president has supported the Older American Act. This act, passed in 1965, helped provide funding for Meals on Wheels. At about $2 billion per year, funding the total cost of this program (along with others) is lower than the amount the government spends on fossil fuel subsidies each year.
At $3 million per year, funding Meals on Wheels has a lower price tag than just one visit to Trump’s “winter White House.”
In addition to getting rid of Meals on Wheels, Trump’s desired budget also aims to “drastically reduce” the Food For Peace program’s budget. This State Department-run program distributes food supplies to people around the world that have suffered from natural disasters or famine. Since its beginning, led by President Eisenhower, over half a century ago in 1954, the program has provided nutritional assistance to over 3 billion people.
At barely $2 billion dollars, this program pales in comparison to the $54 billion Trump is hoping to invest in the defense budget.
The State Department’s entire budget is at risk of getting its $50 billion budget slashed by almost one-third. Initially, the proposed cut was even higher at 37 percent until Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, pleaded to soften the cuts.
The unnecessary budget cuts to critical programs such as Food For Peace and Meals on Wheels will end up leaving more people hungry and facing malnutrition. Throughout the world, the work completed by the State Department encourages a positive view of America (which is desperately needed in the wake of Trump’s isolationism).
Fortunately, Republicans immediately expressed opposition to the majority of the suggested program and budget cuts. Mitch McConnel, the Senate Majority Leader in Kentucky, has confirmed his party will not support the massive budget cuts to the State Department.
Although the elderly population was overwhelmingly supportive of Trump in the polls, Trump is choosing to show his appreciation by putting them at risk of hunger. In 2014, over 10 million seniors in America (15% of the elderly population) were at risk of experiencing hunger. If anything, Meals on Wheels is in need of additional funding, not elimination.
It is disgusting and unacceptable that the wealthiest nation in the world would consider letting its senior population worry about where they will obtain their next meal. Trump’s budget priorities make it clear where his interests stand.
Once again, President Trump has proven that he only pretends to care about the people of America. The fact that he is willing to put millions of Americans at risk of food insecurity is a clear indication of his true intentions – funneling money to defense contractors and the ultra-rich.