President Trump announced his proposed federal budget for 2018 this week, and the news is staggering. The spending plan aims to slash $274 billion over ten years from antipoverty programs including food stamps, Medicaid, federal student loans, job training, and programs such as Meals on Wheels — all while giving large tax cuts to the wealthiest and building a wall on our southern border. This paints a stark picture for our nation’s priorities.
You see, budgets are more than spreadsheets and dollar signs. They are value statements that reflect the principles we uphold. This new budget hurts the sick and elderly, blocks access to higher education and takes away basic healthcare for the working class. This budget says to the 46 million Americans living in poverty, you do not matter. You are not a priority for our country. This does not reflect our values as Americans or as Jews.
As Americans, we believe in the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As Jews, we are taught to care for the poor and vulnerable, to do whatever is in our means to prevent suffering. If we truly value these ideals, health insurance would be a right and not a luxury reserved for the privileged. Parents wouldn’t have to fear that they won’t be able to afford medicine or a doctor visit for their child. Our elderly wouldn’t worry where their next meal would come from.
As the Executive Director of Avodah, I’m deeply concerned. We know that these disastrous cuts to health care coverage, public assistance programs and the evisceration of antipoverty organizations will pull the rug out from working families and ultimately throw more people into poverty.
Avodah’s core mission is to strengthen the Jewish community’s fight against both causes and effects of poverty in America. These potential cuts target the most vulnerable people in our society; it’s urgent that we put our Jewish values into action. I urge you to join us and oppose this administration’s proposed cuts to Medicaid, food assistance, and crucial antipoverty programs. We have the power to preserve the wellbeing of millions of Americans and build the kind of society we wish to see in the world.
Find your representatives here, or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to urge them to oppose the President’s budget proposal. And if you have a personal story of surviving on food stamps, growing up on Medicaid, or using other safety net programs in our country, please share them when you call. Join the conversation and share your experiences on our Facebook page here. Your stories can make a big difference.
What impact would cuts to food stamps, Medicaid or other safety net programs have on your life? Leave your stories in the comments below
Avodah strengthens the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States. We do this by engaging participants in service and community building that inspire them to become lifelong leaders for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.