America’s New Priorities Laid Bare.

President Trump’s budget has been announced and I’m sure most of you already know that it includes nothing—Zero! Zip! Nada!—for Amtrak’s long-distance trains and for a number of important transit projects.
Of course there is consternation among rail advocates. NARP is firing out emails to its 28,000 members urging all of us to call—not write or email, but telephone—our Congressional delegations to protest. And of course we should and most of us will.
Yes, I’m upset about what is clearly an attack on Amtrak’s long-distance network. But I am struck by the fact that almost every one of those trains serves small cities and towns in states that voted for Trump. So if you live in one of those states and use Amtrak, and if you voted for Trump, congratulations. Your president just screwed you.
But I find that I am even more distressed by what his proposed budget does in areas other than transportation:

  • It eliminates funding for museums and libraries and dance companies and orchestras and theaters, money that has come from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • It cuts all funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which means public television and National Public Radio.
  • It eliminate 50 programs and more than 3,000 positions at the EPA.

The list goes on and on. I won’t continue because by now you’ve already heard most of it anyway.
As upset as I am by his denigration of the long-distance trains, I am even more distressed by what his budget as a whole tells the rest of the civilized world about the priorities of this country’s current leadership . . . leadership that presumably represents the wishes of somewhat less than half of our population.
But what I find almost unbearable is that all these cuts—to Amtrak and to intelligent broadcasting and to the arts—won’t even begin to cover the cost of building his useless, stupid, unnecessary fucking wall.