On his “WallBuilders Live” radio program today, right-wing political activist and Religious Right pseudo-historian David Barton heaped praise on the Trump administration for cutting billions in government spending in its proposed federal budget, celebrating massive cuts to programs that he did not even pretend to understand.
“In the new Trump budget, there are 66 programs that he has completely eliminated,” Barton rejoiced, as he began naming off programs that are either set to be eliminated or face drastic cuts.
“I don’t know how we’re going to survive without these programs,” Barton said sarcastically. “These are so crucial, everybody talks about these every day, you hear about them in the news, everybody relies on these.”
Among the programs being cut, Barton said, is the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which Barton admitted to knowing nothing about, as well as the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program Account, which he insisted was unnecessary because “most people know how to take care of wastewater. I mean, we have septic tanks and we have sewers.”
Barton does not know or care, but the McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program “helps support education, child development and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries around the globe.”
The key objective of the McGovern-Dole Program is to reduce hunger and improve literacy and primary education, especially for girls. By providing school meals, teacher training and related support, McGovern-Dole projects help boost school enrollment and academic performance. At the same time, the program also focuses on improving children’s health and learning capacity before they enter school by offering nutrition programs for pregnant and nursing women, infants and pre-schoolers. Sustainability is an important aspect of the McGovern-Dole Program. FAS and its partner organizations work to ensure that the communities served by the program can ultimately continue the sponsored activities on their own or with support from other sources such as the host government or local community.
Barton also doesn’t seem to know or care that not everybody has access to clean water or sewer systems or can afford to install them, which is why the Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program “provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas” by assisting “qualified applicants who are not otherwise able to obtain commercial credit on reasonable terms.”
Barton went on to celebrate the fact that “$5 billion is cut in education [spending,] including impact aid payments for federal property. I’m not sure why we’re giving federal assistance to federal property for education. Who knows?”
The Department of Education website knows:
Many local school districts across the United States include within their boundaries parcels of land that are owned by the Federal Government or that have been removed from the local tax rolls by the Federal Government, including Indian lands. These school districts face special challenges — they must provide a quality education to the children living on the Indian and other Federal lands and meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act, while sometimes operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts, because the Federal property is exempt from local property taxes.
Since 1950, Congress has provided financial assistance to these local school districts through the Impact Aid Program. Impact Aid was designed to assist local school districts that have lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt Federal property, or that have experienced increased expenditures due to the enrollment of federally connected children, including children living on Indian lands.
“Now, here’s one that we think we’re really going to miss,” Barton continued, facetiously. “At the Justice Department, they’re wiping out $210 million on the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. So if you’re a criminal alien, the federal government is paying you to defend criminal aliens?”
No, in fact, the program does exactly the opposite: “SCAAP provides federal payments to states and localities that incurred correctional officer salary costs for incarcerating undocumented criminal aliens with at least one felony or two misdemeanor convictions for violations of state or local law, and incarcerated for at least 4 consecutive days during the reporting period.”
Barton may or may not support any of these programs if he bothered to understand what they actually do, but he is obviously not about to let that interfere with his ignorantly celebrating their proposed elimination on his radio show.