Blueprint to Make America Great Again Threatens to Pit Old Against Young

Make no mistake-the President’s proposed budget would shred the compact that binds generations together through decade’s old, effective social insurance, health care and other programs.

News of the president’s budget has various advocacy groups pushing out statements about the devastating impact of cuts to the children, youth, families, older adults and other vulnerable groups.

News coverage about the budget focuses on cuts to one vulnerable population at the expense of the other. One New York Times headline stated: “Trump budget cuts programs for poor while sparing many old people.”

Yet such analysis misses a fundamental value of American Society that both sides of the aisle agree on — we are all part of families, neighborhoods and communities. Whether we share a roof, rely on each other for caregiving, or help provide a loan or other help in hard times, our lives and well-being affect one another.

Cuts to a grandchild hurt their grandparents. We are bound together by a social compact.

Policy changes that eliminate or reduce critical benefits, supports and services for family members, caregivers and neighbors negatively impact the children, youth, and older people they support and care for. Likewise, smart investments in people of one generation reap benefits for those in another generation in the form of a stronger workforce and ensuring the quality of life and well-being.

American’s get it. A recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Generations United and The Eisner Foundation found that over 90 percent of adults surveyed thought that children AND elders were vulnerable populations that society has an obligation to protect.

The proposed budget would create false choices and hurt family members of all ages deeply.

Specifically it would:

Cut Medicaid and the Children’s State Health Insurance Program. It would take us back to the days when one grandmother we knew spent down her entire retirement savings to access badly needed dental care for her grandson and countless families could only turn to emergency rooms for care.

Eliminate the Social Services Block Grant. Critical, flexible resources that allow states and counties to meet the diverse local needs of children, older adults and people with disabilities including protecting them from abuse and neglect.

Dismantle Social Security. Social Security is more than a retirement program. It is a family protection program designed to support families when faced with disability, death of a parent or retirement. It keeps grandparents who are raising grandchildren out of poverty, a critical role as grandparents are increasing called to step in to parent their grandchildren as our country faces the devastation of the opioid epidemic. Failing to protect the entirety of Social Security is a failure for children, families and older people alike.

Increase hunger for children and older adults. Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program hurts families that struggle every day with feeding those they love.

Cuts hurt children, families and older people now and into the future. If we neglect thoughtful investments across the lifespans and abandon support for the growing interdependence of generations, we risk failure in the form of wasteful spending, increased public divisiveness, and policies injurious to American families and communities.

The so called Blueprint to Make America Great Again should be dead on arrival. Our policy makers can do much better to help make families stronger. American’s value family and that’s only one of the many things that makes us great.

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