Federal budget cuts would hurt generations

Kim Brooks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     “We can’t spend money on programs because they sound good.”

     These were the words uttered by Donald Trump’s White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney during a press conference last week. Mulvaney was defending the massive cuts to the federal budget, with many programs that benefit rural America seeing sizable decreases in funding. (Remember, Trump won the election because of rural America.)

     The President is proposing a $1.1 trillion budget. But, many worthwhile programs are proposed to get cut. Keep in mind that Congress has to approve this budget, so some of Trump’s proposed cuts may not fly.

     Trump said he’s making these drastic cuts to the arts, educational programming, Meals on Wheels, just to name a few, to pump more money into defending our nation. He’s asking for our government, not Mexico’s, to put $1.5 billion toward building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

     Some of the departments and programs to take a hit include: The EPA, the Agriculture Department, the State Department, medical research, NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), PBS (Public Broadcasting Service), NPR (National Public Radio).

     The EPA, which sadly can be the center of some controversy for those who haven’t latched on to the obvious theory of global warming, is tasked with finding alternative fuel sources, protecting our environment, and helping landowners develop safe land practices.

     In Iowa, agriculture is king. Without the national and state Ag Departments, where would we be?

     The State Department works hand-in-hand with the UN (United Nations). They negotiate treaties and agreements with other nations. It’s the main foreign affairs agency.

     Without medical research, there will never be a cure for cancer, of any kind. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that everyone has been touched by cancer, whether it was through the tragic loss of a loved one or seeing a loved one battle cancer to survive.

     The NEA offers funding for projects centered around the arts in the form of grants. They are the largest funding source for arts organizations throughout the U.S. Every state in the nation has received funding from the NEA.

     Schools of all levels benefit from the NEA.

     Actually, during the Ronald Reagan administration, Reagan considered decreasing funding to the NEA, but fellow actor and conservative Charlton Heston championed for the organization. (Know any actors who could stand up to Trump?)

     Who hasn’t watched PBS? Like me, were you or your children “Sesame Street” fans growing up? What about “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?” Were you a dedicated viewer of “Downton Abbey?” Over the years PBS has offered free educational shows for people of all ages, but more importantly, for school-aged children. I learned so much from watching “Sesame Street” that it would so sad to see our government want to take it away for future generations. Once you cut funding, it’s hard to bring it back after a four- or eight-year presidency.

     PBS and NPR both receive public and private funding. I’m sure you’ve received, at one time or another, a letter in the mail asking you to consider donating to either organization.

     NPR is known for its cultural and educational, non-biased programming. Again, during the Reagan era in the mid-1980s, NPR faced a $7 million cut.

     Again, our leaders are proposing cuts to so many needed and revered services that benefit everyone from young to old, wealthy to poor, urban and rural.

     I understand the importance of protecting our borders, but education is key. The U.S. has already fallen behind other nations when it comes to quality education. We are no longer leaders in education.

     If you feel passionately about losing some of these valuable resources, I urge you to contact our Congress people in Washington (Grassley, Blum and Ernst). Tell them how you feel. Ask them to consider their constituents’ feelings, those who elect them to office, those who they are supposed to be representing.

     Some say the job of the government is to protect and defend. Yes, and to provide for the nation’s citizens. Funding education and these necessary services helps those living in the U.S. flourish.

     It would be sad to see future generations deprived of things many generations took for granted.

     So, back to Mulvaney’s initial quote… Yes, the EPA and PBS all sound like “good” programs, but that’s because they are important programs as well.


Subscriber Login