In 1929 the stock market crashed on Black Tuesday creating what would be known as The Great Depression. Millions of people lost their jobs and their homes. Families struggled to feed themselves and their children. When he became president in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt made it his mission to bring the country out of the Depression. Through the new Deal, Roosevelt implemented many policies that helped bring the country out of the Depression. Among those policies were the beginning of programs we now know as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Food Stamps, or SNAP as it’s now known. In the 1960’s, Lyndon B. Johnson expanded upon these programs forming them into what we are familiar with today.
Today, millions of Americans rely on these programs. The elderly count on Medicare for their healthcare needs and social security for their financial needs. The poor and middle class rely on Medicaid for healthcare assistance and use SNAP in order to feed their families. These are all amazing programs that many people rely on, and if they didn’t have them, they would probably die.
That’s why this week when President Trump released his budget proposal everyone was outraged with his proposed cuts. It almost seems like class warfare. Increasing the budget for the military, which it doesn’t need, at all, but cutting programs that help the poor and the elderly is a decision that is hard to digest.
The cuts to Medicaid and Medicare come at a time when the administration is working hard to dismantle The Affordable Care Act. The United States already ranks thirty-seven in the world for health care. We’re one of the only developed nations without universal health care. Gutting these programs that our most poor and elderly almost completely rely on is mind-boggling. Why would we want to make it so that people who are sick can’t seek help? Why would we want to get rid of these programs that help people so much?
The cuts to SNAP is another big slap in the face to people who rely on it. The majority of people who use SNAP work full time. Sometimes they work the equivalent of two full time jobs. The fact that wages in this country are disproportionate to cost of living, makes it difficult for a family to pay rent and utilities and also put food on the table. That’s where SNAP comes in. It helps parents feed their children healthy food. Trump’s cuts to SNAP come with the caveat that they’ll give people receiving SNAP a subscription box of food. Which sounds okay on the surface. Food delivered to their door so they don’t have to take time out of their chaotic and often busy lives to grocery shop? Great! Except that it’s not. These boxes will be full of canned and prepackaged foods. No fresh milk or produce. How is this good for these families? The families also won’t be able to choose what comes in their boxes. So, what about people with dietary restrictions and allergies? Can you see the problem here? This is only creating more issues for the program, all based on myths about the misuse of the program.
Where do we go from here? I’m hoping that Congress sees Trump’s budget proposal, and uses it as just that: a proposal. Congress needs to hold the good of the people above the good of themselves. They need to keep funding these programs, and making sure they succeed. Why do we want to move backward in history and see a return to record numbers of families on the streets or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor for simple issues? You need to contact your representatives and let them know that you won’t sit back and watch our social programs disappear in favor of a larger military. Our lives are worth more than that.