President Trump released a “skinny” or initial framework budget for FY 2018. Some in the national media overreacted and spread fear and trembling across America. Why? Were they lying, or just lazy regarding the facts? Or, as I wrote last week, were they merely managing perceptions of those who hate President Trump?
The New York Times reported the budget proposed “the complete elimination of the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.”
Time splashed the headline: “Trump’s Budget Would Kill a Program That Feeds 2.4 Million Senior Citizens.” The Hill’s story titled “Trump Proposed Budget Eliminates Funds for Meals on Wheels” initially received 26,000 shares on social media. There are many other examples, but you get the drift.
President Trump’s budget eliminates the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) $3 billion, but CDBG has never directly funded Meals on Wheels. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs the CDBG program. According to HUD website: “Beginning in 1974, the CDBG program is one of the longest continuously run programs at HUD. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1209 general units of local government and States.”
In other words, the grants are given to state and local governments. These governments decide how to spend the money, and some communities and states use some of the money to help support some charitable services like Meals on Wheels. Some see CDBG as a slush fund requiring little if any accountability for how funds are distributed at local levels.
According to Meals on Wheels website, the Older Americans Act “provides 35% of the total funding for Meals on Wheels (both congregate and home-delivered programs) nationally.” President Trump’s budget does not cut this funding.
Nevertheless, hysteria over the assumed elimination of Meals on Wheels bred by media and proliferated across social media by those who hate President Trump has already attracted more than $1,000,000 in contributions to Meals on Wheels! Hooray!
Trump haters are more likely than the rest of us to pitch hissy fits. We’ve seen this from riots in Washington, D.C. on inauguration day, the Women’s March, and in many venues across the nation. Why are those on the left so prone to spontaneous bouts of anger and vulgarities? Do they deal with personal issues the same way? Where is this “love” that supposedly “trumps hate?”
President Trump has his work cut out for him. His opposition consists of Democrats, Washington media, and establishment Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Haley Barbour. Of the these, establishment Republicans may be the bigger challenge. Establishment Republicans in Congress are not very different from Democrats in Congress. After all, they’re all part of “the establishment” or “the swamp” as President Trump says it.
President Trump recommended raising Defense spending by $54 billion and offsetting that amount by cutting every domestic department except Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. Defense spending in 2010 was 4.7 percent of GDP, but has fallen to about 3 percent of GDP.
The former administration grew the full-time federal workforce from 1.98 million to about 2.14 million, and nearly doubled the national debt. Hopefully, President Trump can begin reducing the size of the federal workforce and the debt, institute more accountable fiduciary practices, and incite less hysteria.
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at [email protected]