Linda Preast, a 56 year-old disabled Georgia citizen and Trump voter in a wheelchair who depends upon the partially federally funded program, #Meals On Wheels for her basic food rations, was shocked to learn that President #Donald Trump, who won the Electoral College votes only because of the swing states, is slashing funding to Meals on Wheels. Preast said she thought Trump "was going to help us," (The Huffington Post, 3/18/17). Preast described herself as having been "under the influence" when she believed Trump and voted for him.
The Meals on Wheels Program
The Meals on Wheels Program was started in England during the Blitz (Second World War), between 1941 and 1945. The primary objectives of the program were to serve the needs of elderly and disabled people who were unable to shop and/or prepare their own meals. The meals were hand delivered to the grateful recipients at their homes by willing volunteers.
The Meals on Wheels Program expanded to Australia in 1953 and to the United States in 1954. In the United States, the program was largely funded through donations and charitable foundations. However, a portion of the program was federally funded as well. It is the federal funding component of the Meals on Wheels program that the Trump Administration is slashing. The cut is all part of a massive budget cut to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Department of Education and the State Department, while funding the military an extra $54 billion.
This is all part of the larger GOP plan to slash domestic programs, replace ObamaCare, and leave over 24 million Americans without healthcare. It is the plan about which House Speaker Paul Ryan said that he was "encouraged."
The Trump Administration's Rationale
According to White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, the Meals on Wheels Program is being cut because it is "just not showing any results," (The Huffington Post, 3/18/17). Mulvaney did not specify the kind of results to which he was referring. He did not specify if he was talking about monetary results or if he was referring to full stomachs, or to gratitude or to the compassion of the human heart. Those things are hard to measure, especially for a budget director. But are they are any less real?
In the final analysis, has the generosity of volunteerism and self-sacrifice that comprise the essence of the American spirit ever been measured in dollars and sense? Are these things that should be assigned to budget directors and coin counters to measure, or should they be measured by the integrity of the human heart and the generosity of that kindred "neighbor to neighbor" attitude that always has so vividly characterized the American persona? This observer would suggest that it is only in the spirit of the latter that programs such as Meals on Wheels are to survive and transgress the budget cuts by impervious budget directors.
Senator Cotton's warning to GOP
Meanwhile, GOP Arkansas Senator #Tom Cotton warned his colleagues in the House of Representatives not to give up their majority by voting for the current GOP health care bill aimed at replacing ObamaCare. Cotton warned that if members of Congress vote for the bill, that they could end up losing both the House and the Senate to the Democrats in 2018. Perhaps there is but a trickle of light at the end of the tunnel.