Empowering the elderly by cutting Meals on Wheels… The compassion of the Trump budget

As promised, Trump unveiled his budget today, and I think it’s safe to say that it was far worse than most of us imagined. The President’s budget, if passed into law, would, among other things, cut the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency by 30%, completely eliminating 50 programs and 3,200 positions, and entirely cut federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

These cuts, according to the Trump administration, aren’t cruel, but compassionate.

“Can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs?” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asked rhetorically this morning, when introducing the President’s budget. “The answer was no. We can ask them to pay for defense, and we will, but we can’t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

This budget, to hear Mulvaney tell it, is all about compassion, and putting people first. It’s all about helping the needy, he said, by allowing them to keep their hard-earned dollars.

Yes, the out-of-work coal miner in West Virginia and the single mother in Detroit can keep the dollar or two that they pay each year through their taxes to support the EPA and Public Broadcasting. And they can spend that two dollars however they like. Isn’t that the very definition of compassion? Sure, they may no longer have safe air to breathe, or water to drink, but, for those two dollars, they can put a deposit down on a respirator that they everyone in their family can take turns using.

I’m sure you know this, but this budget isn’t about returning a few dollars to the coal miner in West Virginia and the single mother in Detroit. It’s about returning ten of millions of dollars to the wealthy, who don’t give a fuck if garbage incinerators are built in poor neighborhoods, and water in rural America is flammable as a result of fracking. This, as Grover Norquist told us several decade ago, is about shrinking the government to the size that that it can be dragged to a bathtub and drown. This is about handing our nation over to the corporate class once and for all.

And this isn’t just about slashing the EPA and Public Broadcasting. The budget gets even worse as far as non-wealthy Americans are concerned. The Trump budget would, among other things, would, according to the Washington Post, “slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.”

When asked about these cuts, which would seriously impact programs like Meals on Wheels, Mulvaney told reporters this morning that, while such programs “sound great”, they don’t “work”.

I’m not sure what it means when he says Meals on Wheels doesn’t “work,” as meals are actually prepared, delivered and eaten, and the people who consume them are kept alive. Maybe he means that it’s not profitable to feed the elderly. If so, that’s a pretty fucking sobering thought.

Regardless of the intent, one wonders how Trump’s older voters are going to respond when they hear about cuts to Meals on Wheels and other programs they rely on.

Speaking of Meals on Wheels, because Trump was here in Ypsilanti yesterday, CNN’s Jake Tapper decided to use our community as an example when talking about Meals on Wheels this afternoon, interviewing Alison Foreman, the executive director of our local Meals on Wheels chapter.

Foreman said that these Community Block Grants that the Trump administration would like to cut, account for approximately 18% of our local Meals on Wheels budget, and, if those funds were to be eliminated, Ypsi Meals on Wheels would likely have to cut back to providing one meal a day, instead of two, or deny services to some seniors. Foreman also mentioned that, for 95% of the seniors her organization serves in Ypsi, those two meals a day that they receive, are all that they eat. Furthermore, in many cases, it’s the only regular human contact these people have… While there might be short term savings to be had, one wonders what the long term costs might be if we go down this pat with Trump, cutting nutritional support to our housebound seniors. One would imagine, for instance, that hospitalizations would dramatically increase… But that doesn’t seem to be something that our President and his people have considered.

Here’s the video from CNN.

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29 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Jill Stein voters.

  2. Eel
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    “I think it’s one of the most compassionate things we can do,” Mulvaney said of cutting programs that provide meals to low-income kids.

    Is this the United States we want?

  3. Kit
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Mulvaney then went on to say of those school meal programs for the poor, “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they get better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that.”

    The research says different.

  4. John Galt
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Let’s face it, a lot of ur elderly are milking the system. They could be out collecting cans and shoveling driveways for money, but, no, they stay at home, enjoying the oatmeal and chipped beef that we give them free of charge. Hard work builds character. And that goes for the elderly too. There’s no reason a 90 year old woman shouldn’t know the joy of a hard days work, shoveling asphalt on a hot summer day. Being outside in the sunshine, working up a sweat, might be just what the doctor ordered. And, if it saves me a few bucks, all the better.

  5. Demetrius
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    What is the appropriate reaction when a nation has lost its collective mind?

  6. M
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile, we’re paying for Trump’s golf trips to Florida.

  7. jean henry
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I have never been more angry at third party voters. More so than Trump voters. Trump voters believed (or at least hoped) he would solve their problems. Third party voters knew what a Trump presidency meant but chose to preserve their own sense of righteousness over the greater good.

    As for meals on wheels, we will need to fight for it, but the Trump budget is not anything close to what we will be living with next year. Presidents don’t make budgets; congress does. I used to deliver meals of wheels to people with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco in the mid 90’s. It takes a lot of vomubteerscto run those programs, all of whom see the value the program had and who have personal connection to the programs. I wish I could say the families of recipients also value the program, but my experience was the families were largely absent from the picture. That may have been about the population I was attending, but I suspect it’s not.

    My fondest hope is that the American people will finally see that entitlements aren’t only benefiting others, that they too benefit from them in some form. And when those programs are threatened and the citizenry have to face (via direct threat) their own sense of entitlement to the benefits of certain government programs, there will be a great awakening– and we will finally move away from the Reagan narrative about who exactly receives government aid.

    Pie in the sky thinking.

  8. Meta
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Washington Post: “Meals on Wheels is ‘not showing any results’ only if you ignore all these results”

    At a news conference Thursday, Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, defended proposed cuts to the Meals on Wheels program, which provides food aid to needy senior citizens, by saying the program is one of many that is “just not showing any results.”

    Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit group that receives funding from the federal government, state and local governments and private donors. “We serve more than 2.4 million seniors from 60 to 100+ years old each year,” the organization writes. “They are primarily older than 60 and because of physical limitations or financial reasons, have difficulty shopping for or preparing meals for themselves.”

    If that doesn’t clear the bar for “results,” as Mulvaney put it, there’s also been a fair amount of peer-reviewed research on the efficacy of the program.

    A 2013 review of studies, for instance, found that home-delivered meal programs for seniors “significantly improve diet quality, increase nutrient intakes, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk among participants. Other beneficial outcomes include increased socialization opportunities, improvement in dietary adherence, and higher quality of life.”

    Not only that, the programs offer good bang-for-your-buck: “These programs are also aligned with the federal cost-containment policy to rebalance long-term care away from nursing homes to home- and community-based services by helping older adults maintain independence and remain in their homes and communities as their health and functioning decline.”

    In other words, the programs help seniors stay at home and out of costly nursing facilities. If you’re interested in keeping a lid on health-care costs, the importance of this finding can’t be overstated.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/16/trump-budget-chief-says-meals-on-wheels-is-not-showing-any-results-hes-wrong/

  9. Lewis Colon
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Problem is that Trump supporters affected by this may starve to death before figuring it out.

  10. facebook stalker
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Cost of security for Trump Tower: $183 million/year
    Budget for National Endowment Arts/Humanities: $148 million/year

  11. M
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    As Jean mentions, the budget will not be passed in its current form. This is the starting point. It’s up to Congress now to come up with something. So, if you care about things like Meals on Wheels, the EPA, and public funding for the arts, pick you your phones and call your members of Congress. Their numbers can be found here:

    http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

  12. Chuckles McChowderhead
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Being angry at 3rd party voters will do no good. 3rd parties only garnered 4% of the popular vote, and no electoral college votes. Anger would be better served being directed at the Democratic party, who dumped on their base, lied to their voters, and ruffled enough people’s feathers to cause them to stay home all together.
    Trump voters did look to Trump as a solution to their problems. The only problem is that their problems were finding a way to deport immigrants and smack minorities back into their places. That disgusts me the most. Sometimes it’s hard to look at Grandma, Auntie, or Uncle now, knowing what they believe in their hearts and minds.

  13. Vivienne Armentrout
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    But by Trump logic, these folks toil not, neither do they spin. We are moving rapidly into the era of disposable humans. Did you hear why we will get rid of school lunches? No demonstration that they make more useful workers, so why feed their faces?

    In a way, it is good that all this is being said so bluntly. It exposes the true thinking. We should remember that this “budget blueprint” has no force of law. Presidential budgets are more often DOA than otherwise. Congress will thresh a lot of this out, and the elderly (though not children) do still vote. The fact that the Trump administration is so out there with their attitude may be useful in turning the tide with some people.

  14. Boing Boing
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Colorful respirators make breathing poisoned air fun for children.

    http://boingboing.net/2017/03/17/colorful-childrens-respirato.html

  15. Brooke Ratliff
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    #dontservemike Mulvaney doesn’t know what it’s like to be hungry.Attacks Meals on Wheels. DC restaurants STOP SERVING HIM

  16. Maria Huffman
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Well, what Ms. Foreman can do is give the of people who recieve Meals on
    Wheels and give it to the local Catholic churches and let them deliver the meals.

  17. Maria Huffman
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Let me clarify..what she can do is give the entire list of people who receives meals from Meals on wheels to the local Catholic Churches for them to manage collection and delivery of food…and she can donate food herself to them is she is then so inclined.

  18. Jean Henry
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Third party voters could have turned the election in Michigan, Florida, PA and Wisconsin had a majority voted for Hillary. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/third-party-voters-played-key-role-election-results

  19. wobblie
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Jean Henry us third party voters went for Jill because we voted for Obama twice because he was going to end the wars—Nope wrong on that. We voted for Obama twice because he was going to close Gitmo–nope wrong on that too. Obama was going to support Single Payer–nope wrong on that. The Democrats were going to help organized labor and support card check, nope wrong on that too. We voted third party because Clinton was going to continue tp accelerate the drive towards war.
    We voted third party because the Democrats gave us nothing to vote FOR.
    We voted third party because the Democrats have proven to be craven ass lickers to Corp. Greed. Where are the Democrats mobilizing against Citizens United—Hillary rolling in money from the FIRE sector of the economy would surely advance a Peoples agenda over Corporations–Yeah right, we had eight years of Obama, and earlier eight years of Clinton.
    They sold us out, and refuse to consider that it is their actions which have brought us to this point.
    The Democrats had a candidate who would have won, but they sand bagged Sanders at every step.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Congratulations, Wobblie. Your revolution really made a dent in corporate greed and corruption.

  21. Lynne
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Yeah, how is that third party voting working out for you? Are we farther away from war? Farther away from having an already inadequate social safety net cut more?

    And if you voted for Obama but didn’t vote in the 2010 midterms when congress changed hands, making implementation of things which might bring us closer to single payer (which, sorry you don’t get overnight without causing massive disruption) impossible, you are part of why we are where we are now. I am amazed at the number of people who didn’t vote in 2010 or 2014 who blame Obama for things he couldn’t get through a Republican congress.

    Sure Trump voters are the most responsible and should shoulder most of the blame but third party voters and non-voters were part of it too.

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Think about what you are saying.

    The blaming of 3rd party voters has the stink of self righteousness, entitlement, and privilege. Those consistently displayed traits, amongst the hillary-left,prior to the election are to blame for Trump being the **first party** candidate.

    Look within.

  23. Demetrius
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes, third-party voters (and non-voters) played a small, yet consequential role in Clinton’s defeat … but the ongoing anger and finger-pointing is just a distraction from the larger problem: The decades-long decline in popular support for a Democratic Party* that has grown increasingly arrogant and out of touch with the real lives and concerns of poor, working, and middle-class Americans.

    I say this not because I want to continue to pile on the Democrats during what is a particularly low point for them – but because I think this is a time when it is absolutely essential to face facts and undertake some real reforms.

    If Hillary Clinton wasn’t able to rack up an overwhelming, historic margin against Donald Trump (DONALD TRUMP!!), then perhaps the real problem is not the tiny handful of Jill Stein or other protest voters … but with a presidential candidate and national party leadership that was so out of touch that they didn’t see this debacle coming.

    Am I the only one who finds it interesting that many of the most die-hard Dem and Clinton supporters continue to blame everyone and everything else for their defeat – Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, the white working class, low minority voter participation, women who voted for Trump, etc. – rather than look in the mirror?

    * The New Republic – The Democrats’ Biggest Disaster

    Forget Washington—the party is weaker at the state level than it’s been in nearly a century.

    ” … The losses in November are part of a sharp and unprecedented decline for the party at the state level. Since Obama took office eight years ago, Democrats have lost over 800 seats in state legislatures. For the first time in history, they do not control a single legislative chamber in the South. Overall, the party is now at its weakest point at the state level since 1920. …”

    https://newrepublic.com/article/138897/democrats-biggest-disaster

  24. Lynne
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I think there has been a lot of “looking in the mirror” fwiw. Unfortunately a lot of that has resulted in a lot of Democrats suggesting that the party throw minorities and women under the bus in order to better court white men. I can’t go along with that at all.

    I think that most of the people on the left who claimed that they couldn’t vote for Clinton over Trump ARE much more responsible than the Dems, whose biggest mistake was misjudging the level of sexism in this country. It isn’t that the Dems are out of touch with their base because they are not. It is the far left that is actually out of touch with the base of the Democratic party and who generally acted like spoiled children when their guy didn’t get the nomination. Not all Sanders supporters obviously but a lot of them. The good news is that some of the smarter ones have figured out that they need to get involved in order to change the party and so they are getting involved at the grassroots party level. I don’t agree with all of the changes they want to make which is why I finally joined the party myself but at least they see that it is people who form the policy and that they too can have a voice. The bad news is that most of those far left people are still sitting on the sidelines, doing nothing, whining about the DNC not giving them the candidate they wanted. The even more bad news is that the whining hoards are STILL not voting.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm6CnP8CsCw

    Democrats lose for one reason. People on the left are not good at voting. They just don’t show up unless they are inspired and motivated by a charismatic leader. They don’t show up for elections they deem unimportant which pretty much means any election that isn’t the presidential election but even big ones like that only get less than half of left leaning voters. Then they sit around and blame the party for not coming up with someone as charismatic and male enough for them to vote for if the candidate loses? I sure don’t feel sorry for them when they lose their health insurance or government services like the EPA because they couldn’t understand that in the general election, it was going to be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump and no one else was going to win and that one of those choices was a lot better for the country than the other.

    What really has the stink of stink of self righteousness, entitlement, and privilege is that most of the people who voted third party are not the same people who are going to bear the brunt of the pain now under Trump. What has the stink of stink of self righteousness, entitlement, and privilege are people, who rather than actually getting off their asses and getting involved are going to sit on the sidelines and pretend that a candidate was a bad choice even though she got the nomination because she was in touch with the base of the party and got the most votes. She barely lost and then only due to the *combined* factors of sexism, Russian hacking, a decades long propaganda smear campaign by the RNC, a bunch of lies from the far left about how she cheated in the primary, The FBI, Wikileaks, and an electoral college which favored rural voters over urban ones. Some bad candidate!

  25. wobblie
    Posted March 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    You liberals just don’t get it. Working folks overwhelmingly have no problems with the identify politics that Democrats have promoted the last quarter century. After all the working class is made up of gays, lesbians, transsexuals, confused sexuals , working moms, working dads—all fucking working, and almost none of us have gotten anything like a pay raise under a quarter century of neo-liberalism. War and more war has sucked the life out of our country. Hillary did not promise Peace—Trump did.
    Trump is a con man no doubt, like Nixon who promised peace but gave us another seven years of war—much like Obama and the Democrats.
    15 years of war folks. Where are the Democrats stopping the stupid GWOT. Where are the Democrats promoting “detente” and co-existence? Where are the Democrats defending the right to privacy and defending us against the surveillance state? Where are the Democrats introducing legislation to reverse citizens united?
    The Democrats on a national level can’t even unite to vote against Trumps cabinet appointees. I’m, sure his Supreme Court choice will get a half dozen Democratic votes (A prediction I hope I am wrong on).

  26. Jean Henry
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2017/03/16/liberals-stop-saying-that-trump-will-kill-meals-on-wheels/#2d5053033395

  27. Demetrius
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    As described in the New Republic article above, Clinton’s defeat was not an isolated event, just the latest and most dramatic example of a larger implosion of the Democratic Party – from the White House, to Congress, to state legislatures, and all the way down to the local level.

    So, while it is easy to blame Clinton’s defeat on a combination of sexism, Russian hacking, the FBI, Wikileaks, the “self righteous, entitled, and privileged” far left, and low voter turnout – this rationale ignores the larger context: Millions of poor, working- and middle-class voters who *should* be Democratic voters simply no longer feel a natural affinity with the party and/or no longer trust them to deliver on the issues they care about most.

    As Wobblie points out, millions of voters are wary of Democrats saying many of the right things to win elections – then governing in a manner that is essentially “Republican lite.”

    America deserves, and right now desperately needs a party that can credibly and effectively combat the Republicans and Trump. The Democrats COULD be that party … but first, they need to honestly assess where they actually are, and how they got there.

    I say this not as a “spoiled child” who is angry that my preferred candidate didn’t win the nomination … but as one of millions of voters (and potential voters) who feel that right now, neither major party is genuinely looking out for their best interests.

  28. Lynne
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I say this not as a “spoiled child” who is angry that my preferred candidate didn’t win the nomination … but as one of millions of voters (and potential voters) who feel that right now, neither major party is genuinely looking out for their best interests.

    So, what are you doing about it? Have you joined the party and are working to make it the party you want? Or are you standing on the sidelines whining about how other people arent doing the work in the way you would like? Because the latter absolutely is behavior I associate with spoiled children but the former seems more adult.

    Millions of Americans are angry that the Democrats govern as “Republican lite” but without seeing that a lot of that has to do with left leaning voters staying home and not voting, say in 2010. Republican congress = must compromise more. There is way too much ignorance about how things work and way too much entitlement that other people will shape the party in the way they want. Every time I hear someone say something nasty about the “the establishment” of the DNC, I wonder if they realize they are talking about the people passionate enough about politics to have gotten involved long before this election? i.e. the people who have done the work? Maybe too, it would be helpful to realize that in our two party system, it is much more likely that the candidate chosen will be more centrist than one might find ideal? That doesnt reflect wrong doing on the part of “the establishment” but actually reflects their goals even though they are not perfectly aligned with everyone’s goals?

  29. Demetrius
    Posted March 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Please. Over three decades, I’ve gone to more meetings, made more phone calls, knocked on more doors, and written more checks than I care to recall.

    During that time, I’ve supported numerous underdog candidates who tried in vain to steer the party back toward its working-class roots – Bill Bradley, Howard Dean, Bernie Sanders, etc.

    Each time, the Party embraced the enthusiasm (and votes) these movements generated – but when it came time to develop policy, or choose leadership, we were told we needed to be “realistic,” “moderate,” “centrist,” whatever … as the Party mainstream continued creeping ever rightward.

    This culminated in 2008, when following the debacle that was GWB, Barack Obama won a major mandate (along with majorities in both houses of Congress) – propelled by millions of voters who “hoped” that he would bring genuine “change.” Instead, he and party leaders coddled Wall Street and the TBTF banks; continued the shameful wars;” pushed a shitty, corporate-friendly health care “reform” plan; defended illegal, warrantless spying on innocent citizens; and openly promoted repellent “free-trade” policies such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Yet in 2016, when millions of poor, working- and middle-class Americans (included millions of young people and first-time voters who supported Sanders) failed to swoon over Hillary Clinton’s “four more years” candidacy, people were actually shocked?

    Yes – people need to get involved and advocate for change. But the Democratic Party also has to be willing to honestly recognize its failures and be willing to change its direction if it has any hope of winning future elections.

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