Posts from Sabrina De Santiago

Left Behind: How the Trump Budget Fails Rural Communities

Sabrina De Santiago

Sabrina De Santiago Director, Government Affairs, Center for American Progress

Harry Stein

Harry Stein Director, Fiscal Policy, Center for American Progress

Rural communities across the country continue to struggle to find the resources they need to strengthen their economies, improve quality of life, and maintain vibrant local connections. These communities rely on federal programs that support local economies and health and safety improvements.

Despite promises to the rural and small-town voters who supported him, President Donald Trump’s new budget blueprint1 delivers a massive blow to these programs, cutting or eliminating essential services for rural Americans.

Health and safety

Safe and healthy communities are the backbone of a strong economy. By cutting the programs that help rural Americans access clean water, health care, and decent housing, the Trump budget undermines local efforts to rebuild rural communities. The budget:

  • Eliminates $498 million in funding for rural water systems that help more than 2 million additional people2 annually. As part of the Rural Utilities Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides direct loans, guaranteed loans, and grants that rural communities use to finance new or improved water treatment and waste disposal systems.3
  • Slashes funding to train rural doctors and health care providers. The administration’s budget slashes $403 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs that help train and sustain rural primary care providers,4 particularly nonphysician practitioners such as nurses and physician assistants. Small-town communities tend to overly rely on these practitioners for their main health care needs5 due to the scarcity of primary care doctors. 
  • Hurts tens of thousands of rural families who are struggling to keep a roof over their head. The administration’s budget would eliminate 200,000 housing vouchers at the S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—and 10 percent of families with these vouchers live in rural areas.6President Trump has also promised in the budget to cut more than 20 percent of the Department of Agriculture’s budget but does not explain from where all these cuts will come. Even a 10 percent cut to the department’s rental assistance programs could put about 27,000 families7 in rural America at risk of homelessness next year.
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Union Matters

A Top Exec Gets His Kicks Kicking Passengers

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Free-marketeers have been trying to strangle Amtrak, America’s quasi-public passenger railroad, for years now, and the Trump White House has tightened the chokehold, partly by pushing changes that make Amtrak’s food service ever less appealing. The latest victims? Passengers on long hauls who can’t afford Amtrak’s premium tickets. Among other changes, these ordinary passengers can no longer sit in the railroad’s dining cars and buy cooked-to-order meals. Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, meanwhile, is sugarcoating the railroad’s new economic segregation, describing the widely disliked squeezes as “enhanced services.” No one should be surprised. In his previous life, as the CEO at Delta, Anderson helped turn his airline into a high-profit Wall Street darling by putting the squeeze on frequent fliers. Delta’s SkyMiles program became, as one travel journalist put it, “offensively, aggressively awful,” with good seats for popular destinations more than doubling in mileage price. Anderson himself retired from Delta in 2016. On the way out the door, he collected $72 million in Delta stock awards.

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No Such Thing as Good Greed

No Such Thing as Good Greed