President Trump's budget seems almost perfectly tailored to make a great swath of people, including politicians, unhappy. And that's the nice way of putting it. The cynical way of looking at it is that Trump simply does not care about a huge range of struggles faced by millions of Americans, old and young, urban and rural, blue and red. The short version of his just-released proposed budget: the military, law enforcement, and Homeland Security will all see an increase in funding, while pretty much all other programs and agencies will see substantial cuts, and some departments will be shut down altogether.
As has been widely observed, this is the "deconstruction of the administrative state" that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has long advocated. Thankfully, it's far from becoming material reality — Congress has to approve the president's budget, and that's probably not going to happen. There is enough Republican rejection of Trump's plan to make it highly unlikely to get congressional approval. But this is the vision of our current president for the country — and it's a bleak reality Americans must now grapple with.
It's reasonable to assume that many of these cuts will happen, if not to the extent Trump would prefer, than at least to some degree. So here's a list of the departments that Bannon and Trump want to see cut completely.
1. The Community Development Block Grant Program (Which Happens To Fund Meals On Wheels)
Meals on Wheels is one of those rarest of birds in the charity scene — an uncontroversial program with huge name recognition and tons of public love. Dedicated to addressing "senior hunger and isolation," Meals on Wheels delivers 208,340 meals a year to senior citizens, and boasts two million volunteers. Trump's budget cuts its funding entirely.
2. African Development Foundation
Founded by an Act of Congress in 1980, the African Development Foundation exists "to support and invest in African owned and led enterprises which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable African communities."
3. Appalachian Regional Commission
The Appalachian Regional Commission exists to promote economic opportunity in the struggling Appalachian region. Long dependent on a coal industry that is now mostly shut down, the ARC has worked to help transition the area toward a more diversified economy.
4. Chemical Safety Board
The Chemical Safety Board is "an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents." They are independent and non-regulatory, which is by design, so that the CSB can provide non-political opinions based on their studies on how to best prevent future mishaps.
5. Corporation For National And Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service, better known as AmeriCorps, describes itself as a "way to serve your country." Their members volunteer to do everything from mentoring youth to rebuilding after a natural disaster to caring for the elderly.
6. Corporation For Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is the "largest single source of funding for public radio, television, and related online and mobile services." They help foot the bill for PBS and NPR, two entities millions of Americans take for granted. Anyone who, say, grew up with Sesame Street or enjoys This American Life (ahem) can appreciate the cultural contribution of the CPB.
7. Delta Regional Authority
The Delta Regional Authority exists to help address the economic and social challenges of the eight states that make up the Delta Region — Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
8. Denali Commission
Named for Alaska's most famous peak, the Denali Commission exists to"provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska," recognizing the "need for increased inter-agency cooperation and focus on Alaska's remote communities."
9. Institute of Museum And Library Services
The mission of the Institute of Museum and Library Services is to "inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement," providing "leadership through research, policy development, and grant making."
10. Inter-American Foundation
Working to promote self-help efforts and democratic norms, the Inter-American Foundation "was created by Congress in 1969 to channel development assistance directly to the organized poor in Latin America and the Caribbean." The IAF also makes it a priority "to assure the participation of indigenous peoples, African descendants, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups, and encourages their inclusion in political and social processes."
11. U.S. Trade And Development Agency
Reading their mission statement, you'd think Trump would be totally on board with the USTDA, since it "helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies" and "links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries."
12. Legal Services Corporation
The Legal Services Corporation helps low-income Americans afford to pay for the legal services they need.
13. National Endowment For The Arts
The National Endowment of the Arts "supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America." The list of programs it's involved with is too extensive to list here in full here, but countless Americans encounter the NEA's work throughout their lifetimes.
14. National Endowment For The Humanities
"Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans." That pretty much says it all.
15. Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
Also known as NeighborWorks, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation "creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities."
16. Northern Border Regional Commission
Modeled after the successes of the Appalachian Regional Commission, the NBRC was created to address economic distress throughout northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.
17. Overseas Private Investment Corporation
OPIC "helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad." You'd think the businessman in Trump would like this one, but maybe it's not "America First" enough for the president.
18. U.S. Institute Of Peace
The U.S. Institute of Peace has a mission "to prevent, mitigate and resolve violent conflict." It provides education and resources to worldwide in pursuit of that goal, believing that "peace is possible."
19. U.S. Interagency Council On Homelessness
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness is dedicated to finding solutions to eliminate homelessness for everyone, from veterans to families to young people.
20. Woodrow Wilson International Center For Scholars
"The Wilson Center seeks to be the leading institution for in-depth research and dialogue to inform actionable ideas on global issues." Notably, it's a nonpartisan organization.
Again, it is highly improbable that all these organizations will be shuttered. But Congress now has ahead of it the nasty task of deciding which ones they're willing to fight for, and which ones will go. Given that Republicans control both the House and the Senate, intra-party fights can be expected.
The surest losers are the American people.