Steve Heronemus

“Let Them Eat Fencepost”

When allies are attacked, tyrants are lauded and lies are alt-facts, it is no surprise that the Great Society is now the Society For The Great, and that the War On Poverty is transformed into pogroms to kill the poor off. Jim Wallis, author and founder of Sojourners, writes that “budgets are moral documents”, and the budget proposal published by the administration Tuesday is both fiscally and morally bankrupt.
President Lyndon Baines Johnson kicked off the Great Society in 1964, saying “And with your courage and with your compassion and your desire, we will build a Great Society. It is a society where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled”. Beyond programs such as school lunches, health insurance for poor children and educational support for impoverished areas of the country, the Great Society encompassed Medicare, equal-opportunity employment, job training, environmental protections, medical research, and something called civil rights.  
By contrast, the 2017 administration has no courage or compassion. The current budget proposal, titled (sardonically?) “A New Foundation for American Greatness”, slashes these programs and more.

  • $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid
  • $192 billion in cuts to SNAP, or food stamps
  • $80 billion in cuts to TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families)
  • $40 billion in cuts to child care tax credits
  • $11 billion for total elimination of student grants and loans, teacher education, and afterschool programs
  • 18% cut to the National Institutes of Health, including $1.8 billion reductions in cancer, diabetes and heart disease research
  • 22% cut to the National Science Foundation
  • 31% budget cut to the Environmental Protection Agency

If we are saving $2 trillion by literally taking food out of the mouths of children, denying them healthcare and educational opportunity, and making it more difficult for their parents to be employed, we had better at least be reducing the federal deficit, right? Not so. The conservative-leaning Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates the administration tax plan will cost us $5.5 trillion, with virtually the entire amount benefitting corporations and the wealthy.
Do the math. We are taking $2 trillion from the poor, from job-creating medical and science research and from creation, PLUS printing an extra $3.5 trillion to hand to corporations and the wealthy. Oh, and to build a wall.
“Let them eat fencepost”, indeed.