The proposed 2018 budget set forth by President Trump may be a thing of beauty to the GOP and families who don't need help, but for many rural americans, it may be a curse. The Trump 2018 budget eliminates many federal programs throughout the nation, including some operated by the Department of Agriculture. While the Trump 2018 budget may save up $26.7 billion, how will the loss of these programs affect business, society, education, and the future of rural america? Are we short-changing Americans by failing to invest in the future?

Trump 2018 budget will eliminate 66 federal programs

Administration officials claim certain federal programs, organizations and services are poorly managed, frivolous, wasteful, or all of the above. They have their own ideas about what services Americans don't need. For the most part, this means that suffering American families, who need help, will see less of it from the federal government.

Personally, I'm all for saving money.

I'm for eliminating bad federal programs that don't work. But I get leery when I hear words like frivolous. I see red flags when someone characterizes a federal service that benefits citizens as doing "too much." It makes me wonder what programs are being cut, who do these programs serve, and what happens when the service, program, or organization is gone? Where is the fallout? Which Americans will suffer the most from an austerity budget?

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Donald Trump

The 2018 Trump budget carves $855 million off of the Department of Agriculture, an amount that comprises slightly over 3% of the total Trump budget savings. The Department of Agriculture helps serve the needs of small-town America, especially those located in the agricultural centers of the nation. How will rural America take this hit?

Trump budget seeks to eliminate the Rural Business-Cooperative Service

One program operated by the Department of Agriculture is the Rural Business-Cooperative Service. This service helps rural residents get employment and business training, and helps them locate educational opportunities.

Its goal is it to provide technical support, capital and entrepreneurial skills necessary to start and run a business in the agricultural sector, Working with private and public partners, the service helps rural residents understand and take advantage of the global economy. It promotes sustainable and renewable energy development, and regional food systems, and helps to find ways of retaining jobs and creating new jobs through natural resource management, conservation, and restoration.

The service also fosters the spread of broadband access to rural areas.

The Rural Business-Cooperative Service helps to foster a better future for those growing up in rural areas. Is this a program that needs to be cut?

No funding for clean water, waste management, and housing

Other programs important to rural Americans that are also scheduled for elimination in the 2018 Trump budget include the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account, and Single-Family Housing Direct Loans.

Every American deserves clean water. The Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account provides funding to eligible entities, nonprofit organizations, and federally-recognized tribes in the form of long-term, low-interest loans. This money helps poor rural American communities create and maintain safe, reliable drinking water as well as handle solid waste in a healthy and efficient manner.

The Single Family Housing Direct Loan program helps needy rural Americans purchase safe housing. Participants can, for a limited amount of time, obtain financial aid for help with their mortgage repayment, as long as the area and the housing meet federal requirements. Family income determines the amount of aid available.

What they will have, is less business training, a less healthy environment and less help making a mortgage payment in an emergency. But that's not all. The 2018 Trump budget will mean more ignorance and world hunger, thanks to elimination of the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program, an international program aimed at improving girl's education around the world.

Is eliminating the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, or the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account in the public interest? Won't fewer skilled business owners and more unhealthy Americans act as a drag on the already suffering rural economy? How does eliminating a program that helps rural Americans keep their homes in difficult economic times making America great again? Who benefits from increasing homelessness in rural America?

When I look through the proposed Trump budget for 2018, these questions go through my mind. They should go through yours too.

I'll be asking more questions about the Trump budget, and explaining more details, in future articles.

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