The Trump administration’s proposed budget plan, released last Thursday, has been met with criticisms from both Republicans and Democrats alike for its austere cuts to domestic and local programs, public media and foreign aid.

The $1.15 trillion “skinny budget” proposal would boost funding to the Defence Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs, while significantly cutting funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (31 per cent), the State Department (28 per cent) and the Department of Health and Human Services (18 per cent).

The Trump administration is also looking to cut funding to the Department of Agriculture, Labor, Justice and Education, among others. Funding for smaller groups like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut completely.

News of the proposed defunding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the largest single source of funding for broadcast services in the U.S., was met with swift reaction. For years, the corporation has feared an elimination of funding and now, in light of the president’s proposed budget, is warning of a potential “collapse of the public media system itself.”

On Thursday, president and CEO of PBS, Paula Kerger, released a statement reminding Congress of the broadcaster’s vital role in households across America. At a cost of only $1.35 per citizen per year, PBS has been effectively teaching children through media for nearly 50 years. According to research from the Education Development Center, PBS’ content has an overwhelmingly positive impact on childhood learning and education, making a difference for all age groups across commonly studied subjects.

Over the years, PBS has also made significant strides to narrow the achievement gap for at-risk children. Since the early 1990s, the Ready to Learn program has helped millions of young children—particularly those living in poverty—to learn basic reading and math skills through free and universally available content on PBS and public television stations.

“The cost of public broadcasting is small, and the benefits are tangible: increasing school readiness for kids 2-8, support for teachers and homeschoolers, lifelong learning, public safety communications and civil discourse,” Kerger’s statement read.

Defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would most likely result in the crippling of programs like Ready to Learn and eventually, the elimination of educational opportunities for American children who need it most.

Much of the proposed budget is aligned with President Trump’s campaign promise to “make America great again” by spending more money at home and less on people oversees. But the administration’s attempt to cut funding to local programs like the Low-Income Home Energy Program, which helps eligible households with their heating and cooling energy costs, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which supports various homelessness programs, reinforces criticisms that America will only be made great for the chosen few. Low-income people, the homeless and minorities would be among the most adversely impacted.

Among the most contentious proposed cuts, is a 30 per cent slash to funding for the State Department and USAID. Although the U.S. currently allocates less than one per cent of its federal budget to foreign aid, the country spends roughly $10 billion a year on the United Nations (about 22 per cent of the world organization’s total budget). A reduction in funding—especially as significant as proposed—could have disastrous consequences for the international community, most notably in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, where 20 million people are currently on the brink of starvation and famine in the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Although the United States’ contribution to the UN is larger than that of any other member state, despite the administration’s claims, its funding is not disproportionate. Member states’ funding is based on a specific criteria, which includes the size of the country’s economy and per capita income.

The U.S. does not follow this criteria. In fact, it is the only country whose contribution has been reduced in order to avoid an excessive contribution.

The proposed budget represents roughly a quarter of the $4 trillion federal budget and marks the beginning of an extensive budgetary process. In mid-May, the president will release a full, more detailed proposal, which will then be reviewed by Congress for approval for the new fiscal year, beginning October 1.

To what extent local programs and foreign aid will see their funding reduced remains to be seen (there are already predictions that the proposed numbers will be scaled and adjusted tremendously in the coming months). However, the proposed budget should serve as a grievous reminder that in Trump’s dystopian future of American greatness, benefits are both unequal and few.

But that’s just According to Adrienne.

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