This administration’s priorities are dangerous and hypocritical.
Our nation’s commander in chief has proposed a $20 billion cut (approximately 37%) in State Department funding – a cut the defense department and others in the government oppose – to help pay for a $54 billion dollar (10%) increase in defense spending. Just when the international community wonders what to expect from our new administration, one part of the answer comes: less diplomacy.
The budget numbers do not balance, and the executive branch does not seem eager to clarify. When speaking with the nation’s governors last month, the president “promised that “we’re going to start spending on infrastructure, big,” without giving details.” And details remain scant, even after the address to Congress in which he had said he would reveal specifics.
The current president’s budget plans also include decimating the budget for the agency formerly known as EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Among many other planned cuts within EPA, funds for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are to be slashed from $300 million to $10 million, threatening water quality in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The wonderfully successful restoration work in the Chesapeake Bay (our nation’s largest estuary) will be undermined by a cut from $73 million to $5 million in funding. Restoration work in the Puget Sound (our second largest estuary) also faces a dramatic cut: from $28 million to $2 million. The EPA is tasked with protecting human health and the environment. It looks like they will have to do so with less than three-quarters of their previous resources, and with an administrator who does not believe in their mission. Cleaning up watersheds and waterways and fighting invasive species face a questionable future. Meantime, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is facing 17% budget cuts as they pursue their charge ‘to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; to share that information and knowledge with others; and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.’
Another project of the EPA is studying endocrine disrupting chemicals that interfere with human and animal health. This important and time-sensitive work has been most recently funded at $7.5 million annually. Our current president proposes to drop the annual budget for exploring these potential threats to every citizen’s hormonal and reproductive and developmental systems to $445,000, less than the daily outlay for police protection of his wife and 10-year old son, who have chosen to live in their luxury home in New York rather than living in the DC residence provided at taxpayer expense for the nation’s first family.
Little wonder that employees from many government agencies have been protesting this administration’s intentions and actions, by communicating directly with the public through ‘alternative’ twitter accounts.
The man who rose to power on claims that he would ‘bring jobs back’ proposes to cut nearly three thousand jobs from a single federal agency – the EPA. Many of these jobs represent scientists who monitor the water and air quality standards upon which all our health relies. Although ‘clean air’ and ‘clean water’ got lip service during the recent cue card reading exercise in front of Congress and cameras, our current president shows absolutely no intention of actually working to keep our air or our water clean.
This president is comfortable eliminating not only jobs within the diplomatic corps and the EPA, but also numerous other government posts. He explains his position with characteristic nuance: “I look at at some of the jobs and it’s people, over people, over people, and I say ‘What do all these people do?’ You don’t need all those jobs.”
This same new administration has already supported a roll-back of “Obama administration regulations” which prevented dumping coal mining debris into streams and rivers. And now they are also looking to roll back rules to curb automobile emissions. Developing the technology to meet these new targets would have stimulated innovation and created jobs. And safeguarded our children’s environment for the future. Too much to ask? It shouldn’t be.
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