President Donald Trump’s supposed budget-slashing is looking less like fiscal responsibility and more like someone chopping their way through the rain forest with a wooden spoon being eaten by termites. And, while the flailing is somewhat entertaining, it stops us in our tracks when we realize that some of the programs he wants to slash are programs that not only aid the education of our children, but really hold no valuable percentage of the budget.
For example, under Trump’s proposed budget cuts, things such as PBS and art endowments would not just receive budget cuts, but they would have their funding completely eliminated. It even drastically reduces Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding that does not require congressional approval before taking action.
Because Republicans believe in smaller government, I suppose.
But, the most disgusting of these budget cuts are the ones that the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will undergo, affecting low-income families everywhere.
LIHEAP is exactly what it sounds like: a program to help low-income families with a cash grant that is sent directly to the utility company, not the family. It can also be utilized as an immediate crisis grant to families who are in danger of having their heat shut off because of last-minute layoffs or other extenuating circumstances. However, under Trump’s Budget Blueprint To Make American Great Again, it states on page 28 that this program is a “lower impact program” as compared to some of the other programs surrounding it.
So, basically, because it doesn’t service as many people, it gets translated as a “low-performing program,” and it gets the cut like low-performing items in stores have a tendency to do.
So, what is the percentage of the budget that Trump is truly slashing? Well, let’s break it down like this: in 2012, the federal government approved a $445 million budget for PBS (which included NPR). Seems like a decent chunk of change. I know I could benefit from $445 million.
At any rate, LIHEAP has a larger chunk of the change, with the 2017 fiscal year bringing them somewhere in the ballpark of $3 billion.
So, does Trump have a leg to stand on when it comes to cutting poor people’s access to money for heat?
What he wants to do is filter the money back into the defense budget. So, really, he’s not cutting costs, just restructuring.
Putting that aside, however, want to know how much the defense budget for America was in 2012?
$676 billion. And he wants to add $54 billion more to it.
Under those numbers, both of these programs are less than 2 percent of the overall defense budget.
Not the entire budget.
Just the defense budget.
Fiscal responsibility, my rear end.
You can watch more on how Trump’s budget “cuts” will affect low-income households, the arts, and the country’s homeless below: