Despite what many of us have been lead to believe throughout the years, the majority of services dispensed by the federal government are not exclusively distributed to urban areas. As manufacturing jobs have declined and the American economy pivots to a more high-tech, service-based market – rural Americans have fallen behind the rest of the nation in keeping up with this transition and developing the skills needed to be competitive in the 21st Century.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, deep poverty rates for children in rural areas outpace that of children in urban areas. The overall poverty rate for families in nonmetro areas in 2015 was 17.2% while metro areas reported a poverty rate of 14.3%. All data indicators show that poverty in rural America is real and prevalent. That being side, it should come to no surprise that in their frustration, many rural voters went to the polls in 2016 to vote for a candidate who would champion their cause and provide them a way out of their desperate situation.
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised rural Americans that they would be his priority and he would protect their most vital services while working to create jobs for their communities. However, as Congress prepares to debate a new federal budget, the Trump administration has begun work on their budget priorities and much of what they have proposed would be devastating to the same rural communities which helped to put Trump in office.
The Trump administration proposes cutting Medicaid by 50% over the next 10 years. Currently, 45% of children in rural areas receive Medicaid while only 35% in urban areas. 16% of rural adults are on Medicaid vs. 15% in urban areas. Even though a large portion of Trump supporters in rural America are assisted by Medicaid, the Trump administration has made a point of cutting these services through general funding and cuts in the affordable care act.
Social Security Disability
Believe it or not, the top five counties in America with the largest percent of people on SSD are Republican counties which went BIG for Donald Trump. Example: Dickenson, VA (20.2% on SSD) 77% voted Trump – Buchanan, VA (19.7% on SSD) 79% voted Trump – Lewis, ID (17.7% on SSD) 70% voted Trump – Mingo, WV (16.7% on SSD) 83% voted Trump etc. However, despite the fact that Trump supporters themselves benefit from SSD, the Trump administration announced a $70 Billion cut to social security disability over the next 10 years.
Trump’s tax plan would cut corporate tax from 35% to 15% saving businesses billions of dollars. Wealthy families would see their rate fall from 39.6% to 35%, the wealthy would also receive a cut in the 3.8% ACA tax, and would no longer have to pay the “death tax” which would save wealthy families millions. Lastly, wealthy families would save additional millions on dividend tax cuts reducing taxes in their investment income. With that said, tax experts estimate the average American tax payer would save approximately $1,100 on their taxes while the wealthy and corporation save millions and even billions.
Trump proposes cutting rural development programs by $240 Billion over the next 10 years. This program funds crop insurance for farmers, economic development projects to redevelop rural America, grant programs for infrastructure, and food assistance programs.
Job Training Programs
As stated above, one of the issues plaguing rural America these days is the “skills gap” which exists and prohibits rural Americans from obtaining newer high-tech positions. To mitigate this, workforce development programs have been designed to retrain Americans and prepare them for the 21st Century workforce. Trump recently announced that he would be cutting the Department of Labor’s job training program by 40%.
While these are only a few of the programs the Trump administration has targeted for reduction in their current budget plan, there are far more cuts in areas like student loans and education which would inflict comparable injury to rural America. Regardless of the promises made to rural voters during the campaign, the proof, for lack of better words, is in the pudding. No matter how partisan one may be, the facts remain fact – and at this point the facts and trends show us that the Trump administration could care less about helping working-class Americans whether they live in rural or urban communities.