Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, appearing on Morning Joe today, was asked about the President’s budget which, among other things, eliminates funding for after-school programs and PBS. His response: “Can we really continue to ask the coal miner in West Virginia to pay for these programs?”
Well, I, for one, am greatly heartened by this response. Apparently we are ushering in a whole new era of government-by-choice. If the coal miner in West Virginia can’t be asked for pay for after-school programs and PBS, then surely I, as a solopreneur, can’t be expected to pay for locking up people for possession of a joint or providing Secret Service protection for the Trump boys when they go on safari to shoot giraffes.
Mulvaney went on to say that building the border wall was something they could ask coal miners in West Virginia to pay for, because that benefits them. Now, this is news to me. Are Mexicans crossing the border illegally for the purpose of taking away jobs from coal miners in West Virginia?
Other areas of deep budget cuts include the State Department, because, as Mulvaney explained, this is a “hard power budget, not a soft power budget.” Richard Haas, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, pointed out that cuts to the State Department are bad for national defense. Indeed, it appears that this administration is of the belief that America can muscle its way into being “great again.” In fact, however, Europeans are beginning to view Angela Merkel and Germany as the seat of power in the world while Trump continues to believe that bullying is the way to be seen as a global leader.
In addition to funding the border wall, Mulvaney said the budget proposed by the White House will increase funding for law enforcement and also fund production of the F-35 stealth fighter jet. Since I now understand that we, as taxpayers, have a choice in what we pay for, I would prefer to pay for after-school programs rather than locking up kids with nowhere to go in the afternoon when they inevitably find trouble.
By the way, here’s a fun fact: A single F-35C costs almost as much as funding for Public Broadcasting for an entire year. (It represents .01% of the budget.)
The after-school programs? Not as much of a bargain. About $1 billion a year is spent to provide children with a safe place to go in the afternoon, and for low-income families, it’s a tremendous benefit. The border wall, on the other hand, to address a “problem” that has been solving itself over the past 10 years — illegal border crossings have been steadily dropping since 2006 — well, that will cost $15 billion.
Thank goodness we as taxpayers have a choice in what we are asked to pay for. Or is it only coal miners in West Virginia who can’t be asked to pay for certain things?