The White House continues to justify their inhumane budget cuts by saying the most tone-deaf and outrageous things.
On Thursday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney dismissed federal programs that deliver after-school food aid to low-income kids. In the same press briefing where he said that Meals on Wheels “wasn’t working,” Mulvaney also said that feeding hungry kids after school had zero impact on their performance in class.
“They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home [to] get fed, so they do better in school,” Mulvaney said. “Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that.”
The 2018 budget includes $9 billion in cuts to the U.S. Department of Education, a 13 percent decrease from last year, Undark Magazine reported. Part of those cuts include the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, or CCLP, an initiative that provides after-school activities that includes snacks and meals for students in low-income areas and underperforming schools.
While there may not be direct research that show a positive correlation between after-school meals and achievement, Mulvaney’s statements are incredibly misleading because these beneficial programs do way more than feed children, The New York Times noted.
“It’s something they do, but let’s not miss their primary purpose,” said Heather Weiss of the Global Family Research Program, who has evaluated after-social programs for decades. “They were set up to provide safe environments for kids with learning opportunities of all sorts.”
Most important, there is proof that these programs overall help kids learn.
The Times writes “[While they] have not always met their annual performance targets, but participants did improve math and English grades by 30 to 40 percent every year across all grade levels.”
But one has to ask: Even if this was just about food, how much proof does one need to believe that feeding low-income children is what we as Americans are supposed to do?
Sadly, these disheartening cuts to our education system are just one of many cuts that will grossly impact the most vulnerable Americans, including the ones who voted for Trump.
According to USA Today, the Trump adminstration plans on eliminating 62 agencies including the Community development block grants (which funds Meals on Wheels), the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS).
Other notable cuts include:
- Department of Agriculture: $498 million cut from the Water and Wastewater loan and grant program and $202 million from the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program.
- Department of Education: $732 million cut from Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program; $190 million from Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program; and $43 million from the Teacher Quality Partnership.
- Department of Energy: $28.2 million from the State Energy Program (oversees anti-climate change programs)
- Department of Health and Human Services: $3.4 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (helps the elderly and poor pay their heating and electricity bills) and $715 million for Community Services Block Grants (anti-poverty grant program that the White House says duplicates emergency food assistance and employment programs).
- Department of Labor: $434 million cut from the Senior Community Service Employment Program.
- Department of the Treasury: $210 million cut from the Community Development Financial Institutions grants that help local banks and credit unions thrive.
- Other independent programs: $11 million from the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board; $771 million from Corporation for National and Community Service (houses Americorps); $485 million from Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS and NPR); $366 million from Legal Services Corp. (helps provide free civil legal advice to poor people); $152 million from the National Endowment for the Arts; $155 million from National Endowment for the Humanities; $4 million from U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; and $231 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
These cuts have been called “an attack on culture,” “cruel,” and just plain “selfish”:
This is our new America folks. #Resist