by Gabino Zavala, Justice and Peace Director
It has been said that every budget is a moral document. How we spend our money identifies our priorities and our values. We also understand that our society is judged by how we treat the most vulnerable people. In light of this, what does the recently proposed budget by President Donald Trump, if passed, say about our values and priorities as a nation?
The proposed White House Budget cuts programs that help the poor and vulnerable: the elderly, children, single parents, and those struggling in poverty. In the desire to “make America great again” we are being asked to cut funding that would enhance human life for those who struggle to survive, environmental protection that is helping us be stewards of creation by caring for the earth, and the protection of our arts, which are at the core of what it means to be human. President Trump’s proposed budget would all but do away with community block grants, thus affecting the poor’s ability to heat and cool their homes, roof their houses, deliver meals on wheels to shut in seniors, and have safe and affordable child care. This budget proposes a 31% cut to the EPA so that we allow businesses to make profits while cutting corners and deregulating so that toxic waste can continue to be dumped into our rivers. And then there are the cuts for medical research, agriculture, and diplomacy. To fulfill the President’s campaign promise of “America first,” we are slashing foreign aid to poor people around the world who are suffering.
At the same time, the proposed budget would increase our military spending by $54 billion (yes, billion!). We already spend $597.5 billion on our military industrial complex. China spends $145.8 billion and Russia $65,6 billion. The proposed budget would also spend $1.7 billion this year and $2.6 billion next year to build a border wall. Will billions of dollars more spent on arms and billions on a wall make us more secure?
Let us reflect on this proposed budget. How moral is this budget? What does it say to us as a people of faith? How should we respond? I will be contacting my congressman and senators to let them know my thoughts about what I consider to be an immoral document. I will be letting the president know what I think. Will you join me?
To find your national representatives, go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/. From your cell phone you can text your zip code to 520-200-2223, and your representatives names and office phone numbers will be sent to you.