Murkier than ever

Trump administration’s swamp takes another big step to cut government aid

A year ago, a few months into President Trump’s tenure in the White House, members of his cabinet signaled to the American people that the administration planned to take an ax to government aid, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps).

Back then, during an interview on a radio program, newly minted Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and failed 2016 presidential candidate, said that “poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind.” Carson stood by his comment, despite being widely rebuked for it, though he later clarified that “a part of poverty can be the state of mind.”

Fast-forward to 2018, though, and it appears he meant it as anti-poverty experts and advocates feared. Indeed, last week, Carson unveiled a proposal to establish work mandates for those in public housing and scale back the agency’s budget for such assistance—including for elderly and disabled individuals. The result: Some of the poorest people would see their rents triple.

The potential consequences? Further housing insecurity for folks who already live on the margins. It is not hyperbolic to say the plan will be devastating to those who rely on it to make ends meet.

What’s perhaps most outrageous is that the plan comes from a man with no experience in the social services realm and who recently attempted to spend more than $30,000 of taxpayer money on a dining room set for his office (he canceled the order after the press revealed it existed). Keep in mind that Carson’s not the only entitled Trump cabinet member burning through federal dollars for personal gain. Recall, if you will, EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s $100,000 trip to Morocco, or Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s million-dollar travel via private jet, including to vacation destinations.

Carson’s plan is just one example of this administration’s efforts to further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the poor: recall the Tax and Jobs Act, or the cuts to the U.S. Affordable Care Act.

These plans will hurt many Americans, including untold numbers of Trump supporters who bought into his promises to drain the swamp. In reality, the swamp is deeper and murkier than ever.