The television talking heads are talking about today’s sound and fury from the White House as “Demolition Day;” as if every day the mullet-maned moron occupying the Oval Office hasn’t been doing this from day one.
What is buttressing my sanity for the moment is the fact that MMM had a 49.4% approval rating in Nevada as of January 2017 (38.9% disapproval) and dropped to an approval rating of 43.6% in September 2017 and a disapproval rating of 51.2% in the Silver State. [CNBC]
Much more love from the Republican Congress and the President and Nevada’s going to find itself in a world of hurt. Case in point: If the Republicans get their way in the FY 2018 budget 56,044 Nevada families will lose food assistance as of 2023, and 52,613 will lose them as of 2027. But wait, there’s even more fun … another grand idea in this budget fiasco is to shift $100 billion of SNAP costs to the states. So, Nevada would have to come up with 10% of the costs by 2020 and this increases to 25% in 2023 and beyond. Just in case lower income, mostly working, families in Nevada aren’t punished enough the GOP plan says states will have more “flexibility” to cut benefit levels to “manage costs.” Of course Nevada will have to figure out how to get lower income working families basic food items at the local groceries, at state expense. In case someone’s thinking this makes economic sense (that tired old canard about welfare queens on food stamps with waste and fraud) the actual numbers indicate that for every $5.00 spent on food stamps $9.00 is generated in economic activity. [CBPP] [MJ]
Case in point: The FY 2018 budget calls for cuts in fire-fighting operations. As if the fires in California weren’t headline news at the moment. The IAFC isn’t happy seeing an FY 2017 budget of $2,833,000 for wildland fire management cut to $2,495,058 in FY 2018; or cuts to State Fire Assistance from $78 million down to $69.4 million, and Volunteer Fire Assistance from $15 million to $11.6 million. And, by the way, the FLAME program (pdf) funding (wildfire reserve suppression fund, large fires) would be eliminated in the GOP budget. Supposedly, the FY 2018 would sustain current 10 year average costs for fire suppression. [ECO] The word “supposedly” is used with some caution, because as we experience climate change effects, the cost of fire suppression can be reasonably expected to increase, with a coterminous effect on budgets. Meanwhile, there’s the matter of expensive fires in Napa and Sonoma counties.
And, then there’s the not-so-small matter of FEMA:
“The president’s budget blueprint calls for FEMA’s budget for state and local grants to be cut by $667 million, saying that these grants are unauthorized or ineffective. The program it explicitly calls out as lacking congressional authorization is the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, and a second proposed change would require all preparedness grants to be matched in part by non-federal funds. All of FEMA’s pre-disaster grants are meant to reduce federal spending after disasters, and according to the agency’s website, there’s evidence that $1 in mitigation spending saves $4 in later damages.” [Newsweek]
There are two points to highlight in this paragraph. First, the budget cuts are made to grants for disaster mitigation efforts, without saying why the grants are “ineffective,” and we should note that any program can be declared “ineffective” if the standards aren’t reasonable. Secondly, as in the case of food stamps, there’s an upfront economic benefit — for every $1 spent on mitigation we save $4 in subsequent damage costs. Once more we have a grand example of being penny wise and pound foolish.
Nor are the Republicans keeping their promises not to mess with Social Security and Medicare.
“Not only would it (the FY 2018 budget) cut Medicaid by $1 trillion, it would also cut Medicare by more than $470 billion in order to pay for hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America. Further, the Republican tax plan this budget calls for would increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, which will likely pave the way for savage cuts to Social Security.” [SenDem]
Oh, and by the way… let’s sabotage the NAFTA talks, scrap the only treaty containing Iran’s arms aspirations (and tick off all the other European allies who signed on), send a signal to North Korea that our word’s not worth paper on which it’s written, let the health insurance market destabilize into chaos, and withdraw from UNESCO.
And here we sit, not a shining beacon on a hill, but a flickering flame bent to whatever winds happen to be blowing through the head of MMM in the White House. Not only are programs and services in peril within our own state, but the nation and the world are facing similar dangers emanating from an unraveling White House.