How putting America’s poor first fits into President Trump’s vision of America – The Hill (blog)

Poverty and hunger are continuous social ills that plague our society. Working to eliminate poverty and hunger are essential however to the US’s national security efforts and improving the healthcare and the overall welfare of Americans.

Under President Trump’s “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”, there are some substantial cuts to national and international programs that address hunger and poverty. But this year like others, Congress is expected to include reconciliation in its budget. While Congress debates a budget, reconciliation will enable them to make changes to taxes and social welfare programs and protect those programs most critical to the millions of Americans who need them.

According to World Hunger Education Service, the number of hungry and poor people in the United States declined last year. And according to statistics from Bread for the World and Feeding America, 42 million Americans – including 13 million children are living in households that are struggling to put food on the table, and 795 million people are hungry around the world. I would opine that protecting programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance program (CHIP), which provides health insurance for millions of poor families, the food stamp program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) fits neatly into President’s Trump vision of America First and it is Congress’s job to help him see that.

Congress must help diminish poverty and hunger in the US. Programs like SNAP, WIC and others do not, nor do they help to create our country’s debt or deficit.  In fact, nutrition programs comprise less than three percent of our national budget and cutting programs would not significantly reduce our debt. In fact, Bread for the World reports that SNAP reached $45 million improvised Americans and moved an estimated 4.6 million adults and 2.1 million out of poverty in 2014. Moving Americans out of poverty improves birth rates, advances mobility, and gives everyone an opportunity at decent housing and education thereby contributing to America’s status in the global marketplace.

Furthermore, by supporting international poverty-focused programs also help to put America first. Cuts to foreign aid would place a greater burden on our military. President Ronald Reagan understood this and despite his reputation has a defense hawk, he knew that supporting foreign-aid and international poverty-focused programs, America could prevent and potentially pacify threats to our interest. Our government priority, per the President’s vision of “America First” is to help protect America’s interest in the world which is often enforced by our service men and women. Thus, strategic intelligence operations are essential to our national, and diplomatic efforts and the US’s assistance to humanitarian relief, and economic development aids in protecting our interest. Fundamentally, America serves our economic interest by helping others. Furthermore, the international poverty-focused development programs make up less than half of one percent of our federal budget. During the Reagan administration, the US spent more than what we do today. 

Our nation must work towards more comprehensive efforts that truly puts our country first. Helping people out of poverty and protecting foreign-aid only helps protect our interest. Hopefully, Congress can get President Trump to understand that cuts to programs that address economic development, helps people out of poverty, provide food assistance to some of America’s and the world’s poorest families puts America first.

By putting the poor first, we put America first.

Quardricos Bernard Driskell is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, an adjunct professor of religion and politics at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management, and associate pastor of the historic Beulah Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. Follow him on Twitter @q_driskell4      


The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill. 

How putting America’s poor first fits into President Trump’s vision of America – The Hill (blog)