Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney just did everything but cackle like a James Bond villain when challenged by reporters about the Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal, which plans to shut down 19 federal agencies and slash funds for programs that feed the poor and assist the unemployed. These cuts were made so the Trump administration could increase the US’s already-bloated military spending by $54 billion.
Mulvaney held a press briefing today to defend the cuts, in which he said multiple times that helping the poor and hungry are not seen as worthwhile priorities for the Trump administration.
Here are four of his most cold-hearted responses.
Meals on Wheels is not productive. When asked about planned cuts to the Community Development Block Grant Program, which would result in cuts to such programs as the elderly-feeding Meals on Wheels delivery service in some states, Mulvaney barked that these programs are “just not showing any results” and “don’t work.”
Wow. Mulvaney says they're cutting programs like Meals on Wheels because they "don't show results," "they just don't work." pic.twitter.com/vkAxkhwZ8A
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) March 16, 2017
“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good and great,” Mick Mulvaney said Thursday of Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to over 1 million elderly Americans every week.
Mulvaney’s claim that the program has no economic benefit is debatable. A Brown University analysis from 2012 found that states which spend more on Meals on Wheels (and other programs like it) often wind up spending less on nursing homes. This would likely be a relief for the Trump administration’s widely-panned efforts to slash Medicaid, as nursing homes account for over one-third of Medicaid spending.
After-school programs that feed poor kids aren’t getting them better grades.
When challenged about cutting after-school programs which feed hungry children, Mulvaney said that poor kids weren’t worth the investment because their grades weren’t high enough.
Mulvaney on after-school programs: They're supposed to help kids get fed so they do better in school, but no evidence they're helping. pic.twitter.com/3h81NOhA9S
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) March 16, 2017
“They’re supposed to be educational programs, right?” Mulvaney said. “I mean, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home, (they) get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There is no demonstrable evidence they are actually doing that.”
One in five American households with children are classified as “food insecure,” and experts have referred to after-school programs as “the last frontier” for some kids hungry for a square meal. Students involved in after-school programs tend to be less likely to join gangs, avoid violent situations, and get pregnant in their teens. Supervised children also leads to more productive and less distracted parents, which saves companies untold billions in value earned from work done by more focused employees.
Preventing climate change is a waste of money.
“Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward. We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mulvaney said. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”
Mulvaney on climate change: “We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money” https://t.co/rYGKiRnTem
— CNN (@CNN) March 16, 2017
97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is causing climate change. Without immediate drastic action to prevent it, scientists widely predict that climate change will become one of the greatest global disasters in modern human history.
Fighting world hunger is not a priority.
The U.N. has declared the famine and starvation besetting 20 million people in just four countries to be the largest humanitarian crisis since World War 2. Despite this, Trump’s budget also slashes US’s contributions to assist these people. An Al Jazeera reporter asked “Are you worried that some of the most vulnerable people on earth will suffer?”
Q: Are you worried the world's most vulnerable people will suffer because of foreign aid cuts?
Mulvaney: (America first) pic.twitter.com/RmbDCJeiX5
— David Mack (@davidmackau) March 16, 2017
“We’re absolutely reducing funding to the UN and to the various foreign aid programs,” Mulvaney said. “That should come as a surprise to no one who watched the campaign.”
At the briefing, CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Mulvaney “You described this as a ‘hard power budget.’ Is it also a hard-hearted budget?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Mulvaney responded. “I think it’s probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW