There has been a lot of talk, and controversy, about President* Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 which was published a couple of weeks ago. Much of the controversy has rightly focused on the unprecedented cuts to many federal departments and programs, especially the ones highly prized by liberals and loathed by conservatives.
These include the Environmental Protection Agency (hated for its supposedly job-killing regulations), the National Endowment for the Arts (hated for supporting weird, artsy-fartsy high-brow culture), and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (hated for its "socialist" TV and radio programming, such as Sesame Street).
Then there's the elimination of the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which funds before- and after-school programs for almost two million, mostly impoverished, American school kids. This is a service that in Finland is available for almost all first- and second-grade schoolchildren. Our own kids definitely benefited from it. But it's clearly a luxury that the world's greatest and richest nation cannot afford. Obviously.
Another part of the federal government on the chopping block is the Appalachian Regional Commission, which Trump plans to completely abolish. The ARC is a nation-building agency that provides federal money to help develop the large swath of the United States that is sometimes called "Appalachia".
That name has taken on a slight derogatory tinge, you might say, bringing to mind cultural and economic backwardness. But, the inescapable fact is that the region around the Appalachian Mountains has been historically slow to develop.
To alleviate the region's persistent economic disadvantage, the ARC was set up in 1965 to funnel federal money into 420 mostly rural counties in 13 states, including my home county of Gilmer in North Georgia. Among these areas are strongholds of Trump support such as West Virginia (voted 69% for Trump) and Kentucky (63%). It is were much of his "base" is based.
By the way, this is federal money provided by taxpayers in blue states such California, because states such as West Virginia and Kentucky are net takers of tax money, and La La Land is a net giver.
One concrete example of an ARC development program is the four-lane highway that passes by my hometown of Ellijay. Built as part of the Appalachian Development Highway System, the highway certainly cut the travel time to and from metropolitan Atlanta and, judging by the giant shopping plaza, featuring a Wal-Mart, a Starbucks, even a Japanese restaurant, among many other businesses clustered along the highway outside of the town proper, it has generated some conspicuous economic activity.
Anyway, out of curiosity, I checked to see what kinds of ARC programs would currently be affected by Trump's drastic budget cut. According to the list here, there were around 25 such projects in 2016 funded in large part by the ARC, mostly related to health care and infrastructure. As far as I could tell, none had anything to do directly with Gilmer County.
Examples of these programs, which might well lose their ARC funding in the future, were “North Georgia Healthcare Center Telemedicine Lab Unit”, “Bobby Brown Park Master Plan”, "Cartersville Downtown Water System Improvements", “Georgia Northwest Technical College Chemical Lab Equipment”, and so forth.
Say good bye to free government money for beakers and test tubes, you lazy moochers at Georgia Northwest Technical! Let Georgia tax payers pick up the tab from now on. Cartersville, it's time you stopped looking to Uncle Sam to help improve your water system!
One of the bigger items in 2016 was $300,000 for “Trion Wastewater Treatment System Improvements”. I’ve never even heard of a town called Trion. I think it’s made up. A fake town used in a scam to spend California tax payers’ money. The perfect con!
Of course, I'm joking and find it all ironic. It's a prime example of someone, or to be more specific millions of Trump voters in Appalachian states, cutting off their noses to spike their faces.
* A "so-called" president in my mind, since Trump applied that label to a federal judge who has at least as much legitimacy for the office he holds as a president who lost the popular vote by some three million.