President Trump opened up his cabinet meeting at Camp David this weekend by talking about the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, and the destruction that will be caused by Irma once it reaches the U.S. It seemed to open as any meeting of that type should have. However, the meeting took a turn toward absurdity after that.
Somehow, Trump used these catastrophes as a reason to beg Congresspeople to speed up their efforts to cut taxes. Trump said:
‘We will be discussing our plan for dramatic tax cuts, and tax reform. I think now with what’s happened with the hurricane, I’m going to ask for a speed-up. I wanted a speedup anyway, but now we need it even more so.’
It is not clear how tax cuts are going to help hurricane relief efforts for the survivors or destroyed cities. Recently, the GOP wanted to make large cuts to FEMA so they could fund Trump’s Mexico border wall. The bulk of the cabinet meeting should have been spent on discussing an emergency relief package in the wake of the hurricanes. However, the majority of the meeting was spent talking about tax reform and North Korea.
Instead of cutting taxes for the wealthiest one percent of people and corporations, it might make a lot more sense to impose a one-time tax surcharge on the wealthiest members and corporations of our society in order to help fund the massive disaster relief package that is needed. It makes more sense to depend on those who are able to contribute more to rebuilding the devastated areas of the country and helping the victims who have immediate needs.
On the contrary, Trump’s budget proposal actually cuts funding for those agencies that are designed to help the hurricane relief the most. Scott Knowles, a historian at Drexel University who studies risk and disaster, said:
‘The president has definitely sent a signal with his budget that emergency management is not of interest.’
The departments that would be cut under the president’s budget proposal include FEMA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Weather Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — the departments whose services are needed the most when it comes to managing hurricane disasters of this magnitude.
Let’s not forget either that Trump also pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, and his own party vehemently denies that climate changes exists or that it could have such massive effects on the environment. Somehow, this man actually became president and transported us to a world where everything is the exact opposite of fact-based evidence or solutions that work for the good of the people.
When there is strong scientific evidence that the world hangs in the balance due to the actions of human beings, President Trump’s first task should be begging Congress to make every effort to pass legislation which would help to alleviate climate change and its effects. Instead, he is concerned with a tax reform plan that would create a bigger burden on those who cannot afford it.
Featured image by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.