By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. The improbable rise and shaky start to the first 100 days brings fresh meaning to that time-worn adage.
Now that he has fallen flat on his face trying to bar immigrants from select Muslim nations and most recently experienced the humiliation of stunning and utter defeat on his much ballyhooed vow to wipe out Obamacare, Republicans are clearly distancing themselves from the man in the Oval Office and trying to find an escape hatch.
Truth is, things are likely to get worse before they get better. But no matter how frustrating the babble from the tower, we can’t afford to stop listening.
His budget proposal is the latest disaster. It calls for an ungodly $54 billion increase in the Department of Defense in a nation that already spends more on its military than the next seven countries of the world combined. What sense does that make?
And what does the Donald want to cut? How about stripping money from the Environmental Protection Agency; the State Department; the Agriculture Department; Health and Human Services; Housing and Urban Development; Disaster Relief; the Small Business Administration, and the Energy Department.
The man in charge would further like to see drastic cuts to NASA, the African Development Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Institute of Museum and Library Service, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budgets, made the extraordinary confession that the budget was determined by going through speeches and interviews of the Donald during the presidential campaign. He said, “We took those words and turned them into numbers.”
Even if the calculation was that inane, unscientific and impassionate, why would anyone ever admit it? The bold disrespect is just another brazen manifestation of the utter contempt this administration has for the people – even those who support it.
The budget clearly suggests that the man accused of dodging the draft four or five times is clearly developing an itchy trigger finger when it comes to the prospects of our nation returning to the battlefields. In contrast, the budget shows that he views the most humane elements of our society as the most expendable.
Wings for Kids is an after school program that provides activities and meals for some of the most impoverished children in the country. The Donald decided those funds should also come under the budget knife. How contradictory for a man who feigns concern for urban crime rates to eliminate positive programs for children in those communities.
Ironically, many cuts in the Donald’s budget focus on states that heavily supported him in the election. Case in point, the Appalachian Region Commission that oversees 35 programs in Tennessee such as the Healthier Tennessee Communities Initiative and the Boys and Girls Club of Tennessee Valley and the Governor’s Books from Birth Foundation.
Out of all the programs targeted in the proposal, perhaps the most ridiculous is the suggestion to eliminate the Meals on Wheels program. This program has provided two meals a day – one hot and one cold – to senior citizens, the disabled and homebound residents. The goal is to end hunger and malnutrition among those citizens.
In Chicago, almost 6,000 are served by the program daily. For many of the participants, the program not only provides the only food they have during the day, but their only remaining area of socialization, with volunteers.
Meals on Wheels organizers in Northwest Indiana – where 1,700 meals are served each day – say this program is literally the only thing keeping some elderly and disabled from having to be confined to a nursing home. In Indianapolis, where the program has been in existence for the past 45 years, there are 500 deliveries a day Monday through Friday.
To lose such a program is a sad prospect. The good news is the Donald’s proposed budget is just that – a proposal. There will surely be fights on many levels when he takes it to Congress for approval. And lately his win and loss record is abysmal. But it is still worth discussing because it gives you a definitive glimpse into his thinking, his priorities.
It’s hard to imagine any decent American who isn’t deeply disturbed by what that insight reveals. Americans can’t be distracted by his mindless tweets and incendiary assertions. It’s only a red herring to draw your attention from his diabolical agenda. Stay focused.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].