The Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis grew up in abject poverty, but thanks to federal programs like Upward Bound, which prepares underserved students for post-secondary success, Davis went to Rhode Island College on a full scholarship, People magazine reports. She earned a B.A. in theater, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But the era of that kind of future-shaping federal support may be nearing its end.
The Trump administration’s first budget deprioritizes investments in public health, the environment, and safety, and torpedoes education programs that support our nation’s most vulnerable children.
A CNBC senior columnist writes that the budget simply reflects the truth, and that “reforming and essentially cutting” Social Security, Medicare, and Defense will solve our fiscal problems.
Perhaps student loans and similar programs aren’t sustainable—but somehow we always come up with money to fight wars. That money needs to be invested instead in our people—in our environment, in education, and in health.
Responses to the Budget
John B. King Jr., president and CEO of the Education Trust, released a statement on the budget describing it as a “shortsighted and cruel proposal” that assaults the American Dream. “Instead of investing in the future, the proposal underfunds or eliminates many vital supports that give people the opportunities and tools to better their lives,” King says.
The Union of Concerned Scientists also released a statement, calling the budget “deeply unjust” and one that would “disproportionately harm poor and working class Americans.”
Ken Kimmell, president of UCS and a former Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, says the proposed budget lobs a “wrecking ball at agencies that protect our health, safety, and environment,” and takes “our environmental cops off the beat….”
But The Institute for College Access & Success detailed most specifically how devastating Trump’s budget would be to low- and middle-income college students. Lauren Asher, president of TICAS, characterizes the budget as a “recipe for higher student debt, greater inequality, and a weaker economy,” as a result of its call for nearly “$150 billion in cuts to grant aid, work study, and student loans.”
Asher calls on Congress “to reject this reckless budget,” which, she says, “undermines Pell Grants” and “increases the cost of borrowing for millions of students,” along with eliminating subsidized student loans.
According to a statement from New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and State Education Commissioner Maryellen Elia, the administration’s budget would cut $433,473,204 out of the state’s budget, “eviscerating after-school programs, community learning centers, teacher preparation, work study, adult education, and cultural programs.” This is the impact on just one state.
Viola Davis’s hard, hungry childhood has a spectacularly happy ending, thanks in part to programs made possible by federal support. Let’s hope that we’ll be able to hear stories like hers in the future.