“Why are people punished for doing good?”
That question was posed by a Head Start worker in Indianapolis after she helped coordinate an Arts For Learning program called Collaboration of the Generations. Collaboration of the Generations is an art project that brings children and senior citizens together to share stories with one another and, in the process, create a collective work of art. It’s not the kind of arts project that makes headlines; but it makes the lives of those people it touches — people who would never meet otherwise — a little brighter, a little richer for the experience.
This particular program took place at CAFE, the Community Alliance of the Far Eastside. But similar programs involving the arts as well as folklore, local and natural history, environmental science and agriculture, to name a few, happen almost every day at a public library, neighborhood center, school or museum in cities and towns throughout Indiana. More often than not, they are offered free of charge.
Programs like these do not sprout from the ground like hostas in springtime. They require planning and performance, people who know what they’re doing. People, in other words, like that Head Start worker, who are paid real money to do a real job.
But jobs like hers — jobs that make the lives of kids and seniors a little better, jobs that do good — don’t seem to matter now. Not in Trump’s America. Not according to his 2018 budget.
If Trump’s budget is passed, funding that supports arts jobs in every state would be eliminated. The same goes for humanities, library and museum jobs. Also to be eliminated: jobs related to literacy development, national infrastructure, preserving wildlife, rural water and waste disposal, senior community service employment, Energy Star ratings, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Corporation For Public Broadcasting.
Trump and Republican cronies like Paul Ryan believe that getting rid of all these jobs is “putting taxpayers first.” Never mind that these workers pay taxes like everybody else. They also neglect to mention the extent to which states like Indiana rely on Federal dollars to fund jobs that would otherwise have to be paid for with state funds.
That’s right: What they really want to do is force each state to ante up for all the jobs (and the programs these jobs support) that their 2018 budget will zero out. This, they think, is giving power back to the states. Indiana wants literacy development? Indiana can pay for that itself. The same goes for jobs in the arts, the environment, healthcare and so on.
For some reason Trump and Company are reluctant to come out and say what this is really about — the dissolution of the United States of America. The reason we have Federal programs is so that being an American means roughly the same thing in Florida, Minnesota and Idaho. If it’s passed, Trump’s budget will not only get rid of countless jobs, it will make where you live more important than ever. It will be up to each and every state to determine whether people who do good are rewarded for their work — or not.