Earlier this week, President Donald Trump finally released his long-awaited budget proposal and it was just as cruel as expected. The budget read like a pornographic novel for Republicans, cutting dozens of programs for the poor and elderly while sinking $54 billion more into our already bloated military budget. And while the Trump administration is trying to sell it is a win for the armed forces, that could not be further from the truth.
By now, everybody is probably aware of the proposed Meals on Wheels budget cut and how it will hurt more than two million elderly Americans. But what you may not have heard is how it would impact veterans. Jenny Bertolette, a spokesperson for Meals on Wheels, told the Military Times that the cuts would be devastating:
“Meals on Wheels serves 500,000 veterans each year. Any cuts to Meals on Wheels funding could cause programs to start waiting lists and cut back on the number of meals served. This would no doubt effect veteran recipients in states that use those block grants to support Meals on Wheels.”
Meals on Wheels is primarily funded through private donations along with state and local funds, but 35% of its budget is covered by the Older Americans Act (OAA) of 1965. In recent days I've seen some argue that the program doesn't need the help of the federal government because it is largely run on donations. In a perfect world, taxpayers would not have to fund the program and it would run solely on the donations of generous people, but we do not live in a perfect world as illustrated by the election of Donald Trump.
Others have argued that there are already "entitlement" programs in place such as food stamps to help these people. However that doesn't address the reason Meals on Wheels is such a popular program in the first place: the people who receive it are unable to prepare their own meals.
Thomas Carlucci, is one of those people. The 69-year-old Navy veteran and Trump voter, suffers from debilitating pain that is so severe he is unable to cook his own food. The San Antonio Current reports:
"The more active I am, the worse the pain gets," he said. That's why, instead of standing up and cooking his own meals, going out to eat or shopping for groceries, he started using San Antonio's local Meals on Wheels program three years ago. Every weekday, he gets a visit from a volunteer and a fresh meal (informed by a dietician) delivered right to his door. Carlucci, who has no family in the area, said these visits — along with the food — are an incredibly meaningful part of his day.
And there are hundreds of thousands more veterans just like him who will be provided with fewer meals if Trump's budget plan were to pass. It's hard to understand exactly why the president, who campaigned on the promise that he was going to "take care" of our veterans, would propose something that would so obviously hurt them.
Donald Trump used all of the talking points Republican voters like to hear when he ran for office and he didn't mean any of them. His border wall is going to be paid for by taxpayers, not Mexico as he declared. His frequent trips to his weekend getaway in Florida are being paid for by voters, and he is golfing more than Obama despite his promise that he wouldn't. His immigration policies are anything but humane and he's arresting far more than "rapists and drug dealers." And he now he is actively seeking to hurt military veterans.
The reason? Donald Trump only cares about Donald Trump. He did not want to sit in the Oval Office because he was interested in helping Americans; he did it so that he could feed his fragile little ego. The bombastic (alleged) billionaire wants to be in our history books, he wants people to talk about him 100 years from now and being elected president was the only surefire way to make that happen. Unfortunately for him, history is not going to be kind to the man who only won the White House because of his vocal racism, bigotry, misogyny and overall hateful platform. And it certainly won't be good to him if half a million veterans starve to death because he wanted cooler fighter jets and bigger warships.