By Theodore Mattheis
Elm Staff Writer
In his latest assault on the impoverished populations of this country, President Donald Trump has proposed a budget plan that will slash federal funding for student loan forgiveness, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), health insurance, and housing subsidies.
These programs that Trump wants to weaken are all important for assuring that impoverished Americans can lead normal, healthy lives. Without that help, it will be harder for them to handle basic expenses, have a decent quality of life, or even survive.
This proposal has appeared in the wake of the Dec. 2 tax cut that favors wealthy Americans and corporations over the general public, and in every way it seems to be keeping with that trend. Trump has always been a wealthy man, completely out of touch with the less financially well-off public, though he’s certainly good at acting like he knows all about the struggles of everyday Americans.
I doubt Trump realizes the true importance of these programs, and I suspect he can’t even imagine how severely these cuts are going to change the lives of so many people. According to Nadia Pflaum at Politifact, 43 million Americans rely on food stamps, but putting food on the table has certainly never been a problem for Trump or his family.
Not only does Trump want to cut these programs, but he also wants to restrict access to many welfare services with harsher requirements for aid. These requirements show less leniency toward unemployed Americans, with the hope that lazy citizens won’t be getting spoon fed by the government.
Many Americans are participants in these programs because they are simply unable to get or hold down a job despite their best efforts, and frankly, Trump would be abandoning these people for no good reason. Being impoverished or out of a job does not equal laziness. Many of the employed poor who are on food stamps work low-paying, manual labor jobs, and those who are unable to fulfill the requirements of this type of work can find themselves with few other options for employment.
The proposed plan would also cut access to food stamps for families with too many kids, and if you’re thinking, “you’ve got to be kidding me,” I wish I was. The plan would slash food stamp benefits for households of more than six people, and most poor households that fall into this category are those with several children.
I’m disappointed by the proposal, but also completely unsurprised. This is just more of the same Trump that we’ve seen on display for the past two years. He doesn’t care about people; he only cares about money. If he sees an opportunity to save a chunk of federal change at the expense of those that he sees as worthless because of their economic class, you better believe he’s going to do it. In the words of Maya Angelou, “when somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”
Fortunately, this budget plan will have to pass through a skeptical Congress to take effect. With the midterm elections now less than a year away, and things looking dismal for Republicans, it seems unlikely that Congress is going to let such a ridiculous bombshell of a budget plan get through. The poor will get to continue eating, for now.