Last month many people, republicans, pundits, people on the street, were criticizing those of us who were protesting against Trump. “He hasn’t even been sworn in yet, wait and see what he does.” Well, he still hasn’t been sworn in, but, looking at his cabinet choices and they give us a pretty good idea of what he plans to do as President. And truthfully, those of us to have been protesting were right. Trump’s administration is shaping up to be an attack on healthcare, education and the environment like we have not seen in the past 100 years.
Betsy DeVos – Secretary of Education
According to Trump’s website, his plans for education include:
- Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars.
- Give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate.
And his choice for Secretary of Education has been a proponent of these goals and more for many years. She is Chairman of the American Federation for Children, and organization whose mission statement is:
The American Federation for Children is the leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers, scholarship tax credit programs and Education Savings Accounts.
Her view is that traditional public schools are unfixable, and the students should be given vouchers to attend either charter schools or private schools. She is also an evangelical Christian who has said that education reform can advance “God’s Kingdom” saying “to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God’s Kingdom, but not to stay in our own faith territory,” according to an article on Politco.com.
As a retired public school teacher I can attest to damage done by charter schools and even by the whole small school “education reform” movement. These “alternatives” have drained top students and money from traditional neighborhood schools. The have cherry picked the highest achievers, leaving those children who need the most help behind in schools that have fewer resources then ever before.
Rep. Tom Price – Secretary of Health and Human Services
According to Trump’s website, his healthcare plans include the following highlights:
· Completely repeal Obamacare. Our elected representatives must eliminate the individual mandate. No person should be required to buy insurance unless he or she wants to.
· Allow individuals to use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Contributions into HSAs should be tax-free and should be allowed to accumulate.
· Block-grant Medicaid to the states.
Tom Price Fits in with this view. The idea of tax credits and health saving accounts are a benefit to the rich but of no real help to poor and working class people who do not have the extra income to invest. He also is in favor of limiting a company’s tax deduction for providing healthcare coverage to its employees.
Finally he is in favor of block-granting Medicaid and Medicare to states, and to cut funding by close to $1 TRILLION over the next 10 years. According to the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, this could result in states dropping up to 20 million people from Medicaid over the next 10 years. You can read their article here for a very good analysis of this issue.
Scott Pruitt - Head of the Environmental Protection Agency
Pruitt is a climate change denier. He has written as recently as May that science is far from settled on climate change. More importantly, he is an advocate for sharply cutting environmental regulations for industry and farming.
“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote in National Review earlier this year. “That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”
Pruitt has coordinated multi-state law suits against both federal health care and environmental regulations. According to reports in the NY Times, many of these suits were backed and even written by energy and health companies affected by the regulations.
What can we do?
The time to sit on the sidelines is over. It is vital that we do all that we can to fight against the attacks that are coming from the Trump government. We must be involved in movements both close to home and nationally. Find those groups that doing things. Organize! Fightback!