American leftists are shrieking about modest cuts to some domestic welfare programs proposed by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, many conservatives are praising a White House spending plan that spends as much as the previous spend-happy administration. What gives?
The Democratic National Committee sent a recent email blast to supporters screaming that President Donald Trump’s budget plan comes complete with an evil caveat that would starve elderly Americans who rely on Meals on Wheels.
From the email: “Donald Trump is cutting Meals on Wheels, a program that delivers meals to senior citizens in need, to pay for his border wall.”
But it’s really not so simple.
The Democratic consternation comes from a portion of Trump’s proposal that would make cuts to a block grant program administered via the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
And the DNC email is nothing more than a cheap appeal to emotion.
That’s because Trump’s budget proposal doesn’t even mention Meals on Wheels specifically, only the woefully mismanaged HUD block grant money pit.
Meals on Wheels doesn’t actually receive any direct funding from the federal government, despite what falling sky liberals claim.
In fact, aside from the small percentage of funding the program receives from various government grants, the vast bulk of the program funding comes from private donations and other contributions.
As Reason editor Nick Gillespie noted:
There are hundreds of Meals on Wheels organizations around the country, so it’s hard to generalize, but overwhelmingly, the groups get the majority of revenue from charitable giving, not government funds. In 2015, for instance, the national Meals on Wheels reported that government grants accounted for just 3 percent of its annual revenues of $7.5 million. Meals on Wheels for San Diego County in California says that government grants made up just 1.5 percent ($68,534) of its revenues of $4.4 million. Not all branches are so independent. Atlanta’s group gets 48 percent of its revenue from government grants (none of the annual reports I looked at broke down exactly what level of government or specific program supplied the money). Many of the annual reports don’t even break down revenues by source (see here) and others aren’t even posted online.
But that Democrats are claiming Trump wants old people to starve isn’t even really the story here.
The bigger issue is that, despite Democratic claims about devastating cuts, Trump’s budget is only poised to grow the nation’s spiraling debt. And that’s something conservatives really need to remember.
For all of his talk about the horrible $20 trillion in debt hanging over the U.S., Trump really isn’t signaling that his administration intends to do a thing about it.
Sure, the president is talking cuts to domestic discretionary spending. But every dime the Trump White House cuts in those areas, it plans to throw at a Pentagon rife with the same wasteful spending proclivities as every other government entity.
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