News & Politics

Jim Hightower: What Essential Social Program Will the Trump Mob Try to Kill Next?

Presidential budgets aren't just numbers, they're statements of a president's moral principles.

Photo Credit: oleskalashnik / Shutterstock

Breaking news: Trump & Company are a murderous mob!

From the start of his White House tenure, the Trumpsters have plotted, stalked and serially killed vibrant members of the English Language.

The word "Fact" was the first to go. Robust and universally respected, Fact was assassinated last year when one of Trump's hired killers poisoned it with an unknown substance nicknamed: "Alternative Fact."

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Their latest victim was a much-honored word that has produced a whole family of world literature: "Satire." This powerful noun embodied the use of sarcasm and ridicule to expose the vanity and vice of public figures, but Trump himself killed satire by starving it of any meaning. How can anyone satirize a presidency that is, in reality, nothing but a fully-staged satire of vanity and vice? Satire involves exaggerating the flaws, mannerisms, oddities, etc. of various characters to convey how corrupt and contemptible they are -- but it's impossible to exaggerate the awfulness of an administration that gleefully flaunts its awfulness every day.

Take Trump's proposed budget... please! Delivered just in time for Valentine's Day, it's a nasty piece of work. For example, it would intentionally increase poverty and hunger across our country. It would slash programs providing essential food, housing, and even heating assistance for about 50 million Americans -- mostly children, old folks, poverty-wage worker, and disabled people.

Then there are the vital Medicare and Medicaid programs that most working class Americans count on. Candidate Trump promised us that "there will be no cuts" in funding for these programs. But now he has sent his Valentine budget to us, featuring -- guess what? -- hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Not only has his cynicism killed satire, but his cynical health care cuts could kill you.

Presidential budgets aren't just numbers, they're statements of a president's moral principles. No work of satire could ridicule Trump's morality as effectively as his own budget does.

Even Charles Dickens, the masterful satirist of Victorian English elites, couldn't have imagined using a box of food to take a gratuitous, heavy-handed slap at poor people. But Donald Trump and two of his slap-happy cabinet officials did imagine it --  and then did it.

They slipped a malicious, punish-the-poor provision into the food stamp budget Trump sent to Congress. Instead of getting a small monthly allowance to spend on foods of their choice, the Trump provision would take away half of the poor people's allowance and substitute a monthly box of peanut butter, canned goods, and other packaged food items chosen for them by their friendly Federal government.

It's bureaucratic, patronizing, demeaning... and stupid, but Trump ag secretary, Sunny Perdue, hailed the Big Brother's Dinner Box as a "bold, innovative" idea. Besides, Sonny disdainfully said of food stamp recipients, they are hooked on a culture of dependency -- so maybe a diet of peanut butter will cure them of that.

Then came Trump budget director, Mick Mulvaney, a tea party extremist who demonizes impoverished Americans as moochers, bizarrely putting a luxury spin on the "Harvest Box," as the Trumpeters have dubbed their miserly scheme. Mulvaney compares the government issued box of grub to Blue Apron, an upscale grocery delivery system. But, Mick -- get a clue -- Blue Apron patrons get to choose what's in their box -- and it ain't peanut butter!

As the leading Democrat opposing the Trump mob's food stamp gut job says in dismay, "My god, these people are awful... really just not nice people."

Less nice is their real intention to kill the food stamp program entirely. Trump's budget calls for slashing 30 percent of the funding this year. As watchdogs at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put it, "That's the real battle." The food-box silliness is a distraction to let them pull off the big theft. To help stop them go to www.cbpp.org.

 

Populist author and radio commentator Jim Hightower writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America’s ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at HightowerLowdown.org.