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Treasured Social Butterfly
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Trump Bites The Hand That Fed Him

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President Trump won big in these places. Now he wants to eliminate 3 agencies dedicated to helping them.

 

In rural Appalachia, people are so poor that there is a federal program dedicated to lifting them out of poverty. Through the Appalachian Regional Commission, the government pitches in on projects that these rural communities badly need but can’t quite afford — everything from fixing roads, to building computer labs, to training workers, to opening health clinics.

 

These efforts have become so widely admired that in recent years Congress launched, with bipartisan backing, sister agencies to help other rural regions stuck in generational cycles of poverty. Together the programs spend about $175 million each year bringing jobs and opportunities to places that long have felt left behind.

 

President Trump, who won rousing victories in these same parts of rural America, would eliminate that funding.

 

In his budget outline for 2018 unveiled Thursday, none of the rural development agencies — the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, the Northern Border Regional Commission — would receive any money. In effect, it would eliminate these programs, which are completely subsidized by the federal government.

 

In the context of Trump’s other budget goals, the money at stake is paltry. What the rural development agencies spend in a year is a third of 1 percent of Trump’s proposed $54 billion bump in the military budget. The cost of Trump's increase in military spending could fund them for more than 300 years.

 

More than 37 million people would be affected in the 698 counties where the agencies work — in Appalachia, the Mississippi basin, and rural northern New England — places where the poverty rate is 33 percent higher than the national average. By proposing to zero out these programs, the president’s budget would eliminate a key effort to help to some of the nation’s poorest regions.

 

 

The projects aren't always trumpeted as government achievements. Many residents may not know that their local sewer renovation or their high school apprenticeship program was paid for out of federal funds, but states have come to rely on the money.

 

Much of the work isn't glamorous; it's focused on meeting basic needs such as clean water and access to medical care. Roads and broadband and other infrastructure projects are expensive in rural areas, which also are too poor and sparsely populated to afford the investments on their own. But such amenities are vital to attracting employers and growing small businesses.

 

Other efforts more directly combat rural unemployment by paying for training programs or helping people attend college. In Appalachia, for instance, the shrinking coal industry has created a job shortage, and the ARC has spent millions in recent years helping residents find new careers. In Maysville, Ky, it sponsored classes to teach people how to become drone operators. In Cedar Bluff, Va., it helped a community college offer classes in cybersecurity.

 

President Trump won big in these places. Now he wants to eliminate 3 agencies dedicated to helping t...

 

Some Conservatives posting here claim Trump is doing EXACTLY what he said he would do if elected.  Hmmm.  I wonder if those effected by his cuts would agree.


"FAKE 45 #illegitimate" read a sign at the Woman's March in Washington DC, January 21, 2017.
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