President Donald Trump is facing major criticism for proposing a budget that includes the complete elimination of federal funding for Meals on Wheels programs.
Meals on Wheels is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. Meals on Wheels also provide food to the poor, veterans, disabled and others who often cannot leave their homes.
The money for Meals on Wheels is part of the Older American Act, first passed in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, and has been endorsed by every president until Trump. The total cost, which includes other programs, is about $2 billion a year, which is less than the government hands out in fossil fuel subsidies every year.
Meals on Wheels is sometimes the only human contact the individual may have, which also means this may be the only meal they have for that particular day. It would be completely irrational and frightening if, in fact, President Trump goes through with the budget elimination.
On top of this shocking proposed budget, it also has the potential to drastically reduce the budget of the Food for Peace program. This is a state department program that distributes desperately needed food supplies to areas across the globe that have been hit by famine or natural disaster. Since its creation in 1954 by President Eisenhower, it has helped feed more than 3 billion people.
President Trump’s budget is morally obscene, and it is a bad economic policy overall. It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help during his campaign. At a time like now, where there is massive income and wealth inequality dividing our nation, when 43 million Americans are living in poverty and half of our older Americans have no retirement savings, we should not be cutting our programs that senior citizens, children and working people rely on in order to provide a massive increase in spending to the Military.