Trump’s War on the Poor

I will get right to the meat of this; I grew up poor. I’ve lived in more trailer parks than I could possibly count, and hot dogs on Kroger brand bread was a staple at dinner time. And when growing up poor, you have this inherit mentality that you will be poor eternally, destined to fulfill the vicious cycle of poverty because it is so hard to break out of the lower class you’re born in to. The thought of college never even crept its way into my brain. I knew my family could not afford it and never would be able to. I was prepared to do what most Americans call ‘Boot Strapping’.  At one point, my family couldn’t provide us mattresses, leaving my brother and I to sleep on dilapidated pieces of foam with sheets concealing them, sharing a blanket in the dead of winter. We survived off SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) for food, churches for school supplies and holidays, and free coat drives in the winter, taking advantage of the few local community resources that were around our meager New Mexico town.

Government programs was how my family survived.

Now, I am twenty-three years old, and benefiting from the poverty stricken upbringing I experienced by getting my school paid for by the government through Pell Grants. I have been fortunate enough to qualify for the maximum amount of federal grants available to broaden my education. I couldn’t feasibly convey how blessed I feel to be in the position I am in, and have certainly not once taken it for granted.

But now, with Trumps slicing and dicing of government programs, less people who grew up under the same or even shoddier conditions as myself will not get the opportunity I have been so fortunate to have. Last week, there was a proposal to defund 62 government agencies. And amongst those was the Pell Grant Program, also known as, “The only way low-income families can send their children to college.”

If you are unacquainted with this program, allow me to enlighten. It is an assistance program that sends low income students to school, allowing them up to almost $6,000 a year to pay for tuition, books, housing, and supplies. It is specifically geared towards families earning less than $40,000 annually, and aids many students of color. The new budget plan suggests to cut the Pell Grant Program by 3.9 billion dollars, leaving an egregious amount of low-income students unable to pursue a higher education, as this program is the only way of paying for their undergraduate degree without taking out detrimental loans that will bleed them for fifty years. The budget cut will leave an abundant amount of college hopefuls empty handed, forced into the devious trick of student loans.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The budget proposal also wishes to cut the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program that helps students with inadequate English skills and students with disabilities. The SCSEP (Senior Community Service Employment Programs) that helps train low-income senior citizens for jobs. The CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) a program that helps communities with affordable housing and anti-poverty programs. The LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), an agency that aids low-income and elderly citizens with utility costs, and copious amounts of other government programs that concern the environment, transportation, health services and education.

This is not a budget plan. This is a full-fledged war on the lower class of America. The Trump Administration has loaded their guns and put poverty ridden families in the cross hairs, just anticipating the signal to pull the trigger and decimate a program that many students like myself so desperately depend on, amongst many other programs people need. America already has an education concern. We don’t value it. Now salt is being drenched on the wound, alienating needy families in a surefire way to make sure they stay poor and uneducated. The plan was never to “Make America Great Again”; It was always to annihilate the deprived lower class, haphazardly burning down every solitary program they depend on.

 

Jacob M.

Jacob M.

I eat potato chips in bed and attempt to write poetry.
Jacob M.

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