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Rod Watson: You voted for Trump? Step out of the aid line

Rod Watson

Here’s a modest proposal for Western New York agencies trying to figure out where to slash aid if Donald Trump’s budgetary assault on the working class is successful: Ask potential aid recipients if they voted for the president, and only serve those who answer "no."

After all, Trump supporters are getting just what they voted for, and people who get what they want have no complaint.

The savings could help People Inc., Erie County’s food stamp office, the Social Security disability office and other such programs reallocate enough money so that the deserving poor would not have to suffer because of the electoral lunacy of an almost-majority.

A Buffalo News analysis showed just what’s at stake here if Trump were to get his way: The food stamp program that 150,000 Erie County residents rely on would be slashed by 29 percent, heating aid for 105,000 families in Erie and Niagara counties would be eliminated, and money for public housing would be cut by 17 percent.

That’s in addition to the $600 billion cut to Medicaid, the health program for the poor that also helps those in nursing homes. The president who promised to lift up everyday people also would squeeze the Social Security disability and the Supplemental Security Income programs.

All of this because somebody – that means you – has to pay for the military expansion and the tax cuts Trump wants to give those at the very top.

According to CNNMoney, seven of the top 10 states with the highest proportion of residents on food stamps voted for Trump. Locally, so did Cheektowaga, Evans, Hamburg and the City of Tonawanda – hardly bastions of the super wealthy.

And we haven’t even talked about his plan to eliminate the estate tax, which 99.8 percent of taxpayers will never pay. If you have assets of $5.49 million – enough to trigger the tax – Trump has your back. If not, he’ll stick a knife in it.

It could even be worse than we think because he also uses fake math to sugarcoat his plan, with economists noting that he grossly overestimates economic growth and doesn’t account for lost revenue from his tax cuts. No wonder this "businessman" had to file multiple bankruptcies.

Put it all together, and it’s apparent why critics call the Trump budget "catastrophic" and "devastating." Even with the Senate modifications sure to come, the direction is clear: more for those who have more, less for you.

Still, while vowing to fight the cuts, affected agencies understandably don’t want to get involved in picking winners and losers – even if the president has. A spokesman for one large human services agency dodged my suggestion like Sean Spicer dancing rhetorically at a press conference.

Nevertheless, somebody has to say it: Let’s employ a litmus test before dispensing shrinking resources. Anyone who voted for Trump should forego any assistance from the programs he wants to cut, so there will be enough left to help those who knew better.

Anything less would be hypocritical. And for those who really strive to emulate the president – that is, who lie at every opportunity – a polygraph could be employed when they apply for aid.

That’s the most Solomonic solution I can come up with, since we can’t physically divide the country in two and have the sane half governed by Hillary Clinton.


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