Trump’s Budget Director Just Gave the Worst Reason For Eliminating School Lunches

Trump’s Budget Director, Mick Mulvaney, briefed the press today about why the President’s budget blueprint guts the EPA while eliminating funding for vital initiatives including Arts & Humanities, Meals on Wheels, and free and reduced school lunches for children living in poverty. As expected, it did not go well.

Despite insisting that the budget is “about as compassionate as you can get,” journalists grilled Mulvaney on the many ways Trump’s budget will have devastating effects on working families and the poor — especially kids.

When asked how a budget could be compassionate while denying children lunch — for many of them their only meal of the day — Mulvaney didn’t hesitate:

“They’re supposed to be educational programs, right? I mean, that’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually helping results, helping kids do better in school… And we can’t prove that that’s happening.”

Historically, most Americans have argued that preventing our nation’s children from starving to death is, in itself, “demonstrable results.” Mulvaney, however, argued that this is immaterial and school lunch spending should only be gauged by academic performance. Putting the inhumanity of that assertion aside and ignoring for the moment that children who have died of starvation tend not to do well in school, Caroline O. delivers the swift statistical rebuttal that statement deserves:

In fact, multiple studies have concluded that hunger is a leading cause of poor school performance among impoverished children and virtually every medical organization in the country has concluded that nutrition is a key component of cognitive development, academic achievement, and behavior.

Furthermore, anyone who has taken an SAT prep class will tell you that the number one rule is to eat a good breakfast because the last thing an aspiring collegian would want is to get the munchies during the essay section. Not everyone can take SAT prep of course, and this Administration has made very clear that it is unconcerned with those who cannot afford the luxuries the President has always enjoyed.

The myriad false claims about data should not overshadow the larger concern. Delusional though she may have been, even Marie Antoinette wanted to let the people eat cake. That the Trump regime has no qualms about letting America’s children starve marks a new low in our nation’s democracy and sinks our government to a heretofore unimaginable degree of cruelty.

Sheila Norton

Sheila Norton is a journalist and consultant specializing in political and economic affairs.


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