In my junior year of high school, I was a state finalist for the Poetry Out Loud competition. Though I didn’t win, I was able to spend a day at the governor’s mansion in Harrisburg reciting and listening to poetry. It was a great experience, and I know others involved would agree.
Unfortunately, a new budget memo from the Trump administration suggests trying to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which sponsors Poetry Out Loud and hundreds of other programs and educational efforts. While only amounting to 0.004 percent of federal spending, this and similar federal programs provide an important service to society. Robert Redford told the New York Post the memo was “another example of our democracy being threatened…arts are essential, they describe and critique our society”. Meanwhile, the military receives over 50 percent of the entire federal budget, an amount that is more than the next 7 biggest military’s in the world combined (usgovernmentspending.com).
The sad reality is that cutting the NEA and other small programs like public broadcasting will have almost no effect on the budget whatsoever. It’s just Trump pandering to his supporters to maintain the image that good ol’ Donald is trimming the fat of government spending.
In fact, Trump is not trimming the budget at all. He actually plans to increase military spending by upwards of $50 billion, despite 120 retired generals and admirals signing a letter to Trump in opposition. The generals suggested that diplomatic agencies like the State Department get a boost, while military spending be curtailed, according to CBS News.
Trump is also using warmongering speech that frankly should have the country outraged.
“We have to start winning wars again,” the president said, according to the New York Times. “I have to say, when I was young — in high school and college — everybody used to say we never lost a war. We never lost a war, remember? And now we never win a war. We never win. And don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win. We’ve either got to win or don’t fight at all.”
This kind of speech is indicative of how much our current president is out of touch with the public. Washington Post polls show that public opinion toward the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is not favorable. Not only are they not favorable among the public, but the opinions of servicemen have shifted, as well. The Post’s poll from 2013 found that 53 percent of servicemen thought the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting, while 44 percent thought the Iraq war was worth fighting. Yet the military industrial complex must have such a grip on Trump that the dollar signs of war are too appealing to avoid. If you aren’t frightened by Trump yet, start to be now. Going to war in Syria or another Arab country would be disastrous for the entire world, and here’s our president, just begging for a fight.
To sum up how I feel about Trump’s budget plan, let me explain it in Trump-tweet form so even Betsy DeVos can understand.
The tentative Trump administration’s budget is a MESS. Cutting the arts and foreign spending? SAD! Ignoring 120 retired generals? DISHONEST. Looking for wars? SO DANGEROUS! IMPEACH THE PEACH!
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not representative of The Slate or its staff as a whole.