The 7 most terrifying wishes on Trump's 'wish list' budget bill.

​The Trump administration just released its proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, and well...

The document outlines billions of dollars in cuts to dozens of popular social programs that previously have enjoyed bipartisan support while simultaneously pumping an equal and opposite number of billions into defense.

Some analysts argue we shouldn't be too concerned. After all, they say, the budget isn't and probably won't be policy. It's just a "wish list."


Even some Republican legislators say the document is "dead on arrival."

But if it is indeed a "wish list," what are its architects wishing for?

Having read the proposed budget, I can only imagine their requests went something like this:

1. "Fairy godmother, please slow down cancer research and make it so more Americans get heart disease."

Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images.

The authors of the proposed budget wish to cut funding to the National Cancer Institute by a whopping $1 billion and funding to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute by $575 million.

That's a really weird wish! Moreover, it directly conflicts with the wishes of the millions of Americans with cancer and cardiopulmonary conditions and their relatives who wish not to die — or watch their family members die — from those diseases. And they probably wish their government could help them out a little bit in that regard.

2. "Genie, I wish that fewer poor people were able to see a doctor..."

The budget proposal includes a wish to slash over $800 billion from Medicaid, which covers over 75 million families.

Those 75 million families have wishes too. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 42% of Trump voters say Medicaid is "somewhat" or "very" important to them. Their wishes probably include not having their kidney disease, hepatitis, or multiple sclerosis treated in an emergency room simply because they can't afford private health insurance.

Those wishes won't be granted if Medicaid goes away.

3. "...and while you're at it, make it harder for them to attend college, too!"

Image via iStock.

If this budget is enacted, many low-income students will see their subsidized loans eliminated.

It turns out, thousands of Americans who don't have rich parents wish to be able to attend college without years, or even decades, of being buried under crippling personal debt. If they lose that ability, it won't matter how much they pull themselves up by their bootstraps since eliminating those loans is like tying their bootstraps to a refrigerator taped to an anvil double-bolted to a neutron star.

4. "Oh, all-seeing stone, won't you put our diplomats overseas at considerable personal risk?"

If the Trump administration gets its wish, the State Department would lose 31% of its budget.

That's something Sen. Lindsay Graham believes could lead to American foreign service officers dying on the job — or, "a lot of Benghazis in the making," as the senator told The Washington Post.

That's something Graham — and those American foreign service members and their families — definitely wishes won't happen.

5. "Kindly wizard, let's cut back on providing health care to sick kids."

Image via iStock.

Oh, also, the budget reduces funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) — which makes it easier for 5.6 million working-class kids to see a doctor — by 20%.

Like rich kids, non-rich kids wish to be able to go out and play and scrape their knee without being charged hundreds of dollars for antibiotics. The ability to just be a kid would be imperiled for millions of them if the Trump administration gets its budget wish.

6. "Bridge troll, we have answered your riddles three. Now we wish to take food away from families struggling to make ends meet!"

Families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka food stamps, wish to continue feeding their families — a wish that could be denied by the proposed budget cuts that would take nearly $200 billion from the program.

An analysis by The Washington Post found that families with more than four children could fare even worse because the budget would cap benefits at the maximum amount currently allotted to a family of six.

7. "And last but not least, we wish we may we wish we might turn a blind eye to climate change tonight! Glow, magic monkey's paw, glow!"

Image via iStock.

For the polar bears who wish not to have their habitats eliminated, the coral that wishes not to be bleached, and the residents of coastal cities who wish not to have their homes slide into the sea forever, the budget merrily would ax EPA funding by 31%.

That's not going to help anyone if — and, as is becoming more inevitable, when — the flood waters rise.

The only way to stop these bizarre budget wishes from coming true is if ordinary people don't let them.

The good news: Regular folks have gotten pretty good at resisting in the last few months — hitting up protests, town halls, and their elected representatives' phone lines with the gusto usually reserved for a Madonna reunion tour or a Patriots Super Bowl loss.

Freeing up money for tax cuts, most of which will likely go to rich people, may be the wish of some in government. But that's not a wish shared by most Americans. And Americans now have a lot of practice having their say.

If this budget is truly dead on arrival, that's cool! But we can't just wish it is. Call your congressman or senator to make sure what's dead stays dead.

Bibbity-bobbity-freakin-boo.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less