I was watching a cable news show the other night with the lovely Missus when former Labor Secretary and the new head of the DNC, Tom Perez(a Buffalo native, btw) was being interviewed about the new Trump budget proposal. During the interview, Perez said something similar to this:
“Budgets are moral documents,” he said. “They reflect the values of any government and when you’re compromising clean air, clean water, and lead, you’re making a statement about communities you don’t care about.
Although this is apparently a well known and common talking point in Washington, it was new to me. It struck me as a pretty astute way to think about it. The way in which we choose to spend federal tax dollars is a reflection of our priorities and by extension, of our morals. What knowledge can we glean about Trump’s moral code, based on his budget proposal?
The EPA budget would be severely slashed. The president does not believe in climate change(facts be damned) and apparently, doesn’t much care about clean air or water. Fine, he has a different point of view. Maybe you could possibly argue that this is not a moral issue, just a difference of opinion(facts be damned).
The NEA and Public Broadcasting would lose all of their funding because we should not be paying for them while we have such a large deficit. Never mind the joy derived from them and the lives changed by them. We have a $54 billion increase in defense spending to pay for. Priorities. Morals. I feel safer already. How about you?
Never mind that we already spend way more on military and defense than any other country in the world. By far.
And then there is Meals on Wheels. This is where there is just no gray area concerning morals. I mean, come on, we’re talking about feeding people in need. We are the richest country in the history of the world. Are you really saying that we don’t have the money to feed hungry people? The same goes for school lunch programs, which would also be cut. The president actually has proposed that we stop feeding people in need with federal money. What the hell good is having a government at all if we we can’t help our fellow citizens who need us the most? What kind of warped moral code does our president have to propose we increase defense spending by $54 billion and stop feeding hungry people? That’s just morally bankrupt. There’s no valid defense for this. None.
I put up a Facebook post about this the other day and, in the way that things happen on Facebook, a bunch of people who agreed with me commented, and if there were any who didn’t, they chose to ignore the post. Except one person, who posted this: Nowhere in the Constitution is the directive to take care of individual needs, programs such as this contribute to the break down of the family unit.
First off, I’m far from a constitutional scholar. I don’t care at all if there is any provision in the constitution to take care of individual needs. Say that’s true. That there is no way , constitutionally speaking, to allow for federal funds to be used to feed people. That’s obviously not the case, since we’ve been doing it through Meals on Wheels since 1974, but say it’s true. Who cares? One in six senior citizens deal with hunger problems in our country. It’s not just seniors. The program feeds 500,000 veterans each year. Remember them? They’re the people Trump kept promising to help.
As far as “programs such as this contributing to the breakdown of the family unit”, that’s just crazy talk. I can’t relate to that way of thinking even one bit.
People are hungry. We have the means to help feed them. End of story. Don’t even get me started on the religious angle to this.