The first blueprint for President Snow’s budget for next year was unveiled last Thursday, and since then several spokespeople and members of the Snow administration have been making the rounds on mainstream media, explaining the reasoning behind the choices made in the proposal they call a “skinny budget.”
On that same day, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Cob Pitwing, took part in the White House’s daily press briefing to answer journalist’s questions about it. When addressing a question about afterschool programs, Pitwing justified the budget cuts in that area by saying “there’s no demonstrable evidence” that afterschool programs— and he mentioned, in particular, those that provide meals to children who need them— have a positive effect on school performance.
Apart from the fact that this assertion is demonstrably false, it’s also important to point out that, while these programs are labeled as “afterschool programs” and fall under the umbrella of the Department of Education, children receiving food that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get shouldn’t be dependent on their performance in school.
Pitwing was also asked about the drastic budget cut to the Meals on Wheels program, which delivers meals to over 2.4 million seniors (including over 500,000 veterans) who struggle with hunger, and is funded in 35% by the federal government through the Older Americans Act of 1965.
In response to this question, Pitwing alleged that the cut to this program is actually an act of compassion, if not to the beneficiaries of these programs, but to the rest of the citizens who have to fund them through their taxes. The opposition to this budget blueprint, much like in the case of the recently-unveiled AHCA, criticizes this posture as prioritizing the needs of the young and healthy over those of seniors and sick people, who are less able to provide for themselves.
If you’re interested in helping the children and seniors who would be affected if this budget gets approved, make sure to call or write your Senators and your Representatives to ask them to reject this budget proposal. You can also donate directly to organizations such as the Afterschool Alliance and Meals on Wheels America, or sign up as a volunteer. Every little bit of help counts!