Robin Hood, the legendary hero of English folklore who took from the richrnto give to the poor — whose very name conjures up thoughts of fairness, justicernand love for the oppressed — stands in stark contrast to President Trump whornwants to take from poor and give to the rich.
The recentrncongressional Republican sponsored tax legislation signed into law by Trumprngives huge tax cuts to wealthy individuals and profit-rich corporations. And asrna result the federal deficit will astronomically increase.
So in order to help pay down the deficit, in his 2019rnfiscal year budget proposal Trump is urging Congress to drastically cut fundingrnto numerous domestic and international anti-poverty programs that are literallyrnsaving lives and helping millions of impoverished fellow human beingsrnexperience basic humane living standards.
What is being proposed here is Robin Hood inrnreverse.
According to the Centeron Budget and Policy Priorities, if adopted by Congress,rnthe Trump budget would seriously reduce funding for Medicaid — which provides medicalrncoverage for millions of low-income citizens of all ages including poorrnseniors, people with disabilities, children and pregnant women. The resultrnwould provide less coverage for fewer needy people — and probably be arnsignificant contributing factor leading to more abortions.
Additionally, the Supplemental Nutrition AssistancernProgram (SNAP) which helps unemployed, elderly and low-income working familiesrnand individuals purchase food, would suffer significant funding cuts.
According to international poverty-focused advocacy andrnaid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Bread for the World, the Trump proposals torncompletely eliminate Title II/Food for Peace programming and to severely slashrnthe Emergency Food Security Program means that approximately 20 million peoplernin crises would likely lose access to lifesaving food assistance.
It’s important to note that even without the proposed cutsrnthe U.S. currently only gives 0.2 percent of its income to international developmentrnassistance; ranking it 22nd in comparison to other more economically developed nations.
These proposed cuts are nothing short of heartless.
St. Ambrose taught, “You are not making a gift ofrnwhat is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. … Thernearth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.”
And our Lord Jesus warns each of us that “Much will bernrequired of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded ofrnthe person entrusted with more.” This warning not only applies to each one ofrnus individually, but also to us collectively as a nation.
BlessedrnPope Paul VI, in his encyclical letter PopulorumrnProgressio (“On the Development of Peoples”) teaches, “The same duty ofrnsolidarity that rests on individuals exists also for nations: ‘Advanced nationsrnhave a very heavy obligation to help the developing peoples.’ ”
It’s very important thatrnyou email and call your two U.S.rnsenators and congressperson (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) urging them torntotally reject President Trump’s proposed cuts to anti-poverty programs, andrninstead urge them to robustly increase funding for both domestic andrninternational poverty-focused programs. This can easily be done byrnsignificantly cutting the astronomical and dangerous military budget.
With over 40 millionrnAmericans living below the poverty level, and over 800 million desperately hungryrnpeople around the globe, the world needs a real American Robin Hood — not arnRobin Hood in reverse.
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicatedrnsocial justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan orrnparish gatherings. Tony can be reached at [email protected].