THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BUDGET, released in June, “largely turns its back” on babies and children, warns Zero to Three, an organization deeply committed to the healthy development of children and families.
“Babies don’t exist in a vacuum… they live in families,” and this budget’s “explicit intent is to redefine compassion away from ordinary working families and toward more affluent taxpayers.” Over the next ten years the tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, would cost some $5 or $6 trillion while cutting $2.5 trillion from programs that benefit poor and working class families.
Contrary to the oft-stated position that government programs create a “culture of dependency” discouraging lazy people from finding jobs, most families benefitting from government programs have at least one full-time wage earner but their wages cannot support their families. Government programs in most cases, far from encouraging laziness really enables working families to sustain the healthy development of their children.
Among the ways the proposed budget inflicts harm on babies and children are:
- Sharp cuts to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program that cover more than 45 million children,
- Restructuring SNAP allowing states to shrink eligibility for young children. SNAP supports early child development and children receiving its benefits are less likely to be underweight and have developmental delays.
- Cutting $22 billion from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a program that already benefits less than 25 percent of families in poverty by providing them with small needs like gas for a car to get to work,
- Eliminating the Social Services Block Grant by which states supplement gaps in Child Protective Services,
- Cuts in housing vouchers and ending energy assistance which will create many more homeless families,
- While proposing paid family leave, it covers only six weeks, not nearly enough for parents caring and bonding time with their newborn infants. Funding for the program is muddy, which means that states are likely to restrict eligibility and provide inadequate benefits from the neediest families,
- Although the Head Start/Early Head Start and Child Care and Development Block Grant are generally funded at current levels, it is far from meeting the national need. Currently Early Head Start serves only one in six percent of eligible infants and toddlers and the Child Care and Development Block Program has had to cut some 350,000 children from its services over the past seven years. With the cost of both these programs rising, they would need about $2 billion just to maintain themselves in the same place.
This page urges everyone who cares about babies and children – and consequently, about the future of our country, to call, write, or otherwise contact his or her Senator and member of Congress, urging them to reject this attempt to make billionaires richer at the expense of working families and their children. As Zero to Three puts it, “too much is at stake in this fight.”