- The Washington Times - Friday, March 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

If you were to listen to the mainstream media, President Trump wants poor people to starve and has no heart — and if you support his budget cuts, there’s no way you’re a Christian.

CNN’s Jake Tapper was one of the first to chime in.

“On chopping block: $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds programs like Meals on Wheels,” he tweeted.

Then Bloomberg got in on the action.

Trump’s cut to Meals on Wheels could hurt veterans, raise health care costs,” its headline blasted.

Late-night host Seth Myers ranted against the president Thursday night about the proposal.

“Meals on Wheels?!” Mr. Myers asked, incredulously. “How dead inside do you have to be to not want old people to get food?”

Mother Jones chimed in with the headline: “No, feeding hungry kids and seniors isn’t a waste of money,” and its editor in chief Clara Jeffery wrote on Twitter, “I would seriously like a serious Christian who supports Trump policies to explain how this budget lines up with the teachings of Jesus.”

OK, so here I am.

First, I don’t believe we should hold the federal welfare programs sacrosanct in delivering what individuals and the church can provide. I tithe to my church and give to local shelters. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mention Meals on Wheels as a necessary recipient of my tax dollars. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell me to give to government welfare programs in order to enter the pearly gates of heaven.

As Christians, we should give charitably and on our own volition. And according to research, we do.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity “Who Really Cares,” found that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals.

And as Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times, “A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: Average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.”

He added: “Other research has reached similar conclusions. The ‘generosity index’ from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

“The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children,” Mr. Kristof penned.

Secondly, government welfare programs are rife with fraud, waste and abuse.

Mr. Trump, in his budget, proposes to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program, which partially funds Meals on Wheels. As Scott Shackford at Reason, wrote, “The big problem here is that ‘We help fund Meals on Wheels’ is how the government sells the CDBG program, but how it actually operates in the cities and communities that get the money is far different. The CDBG program is chock full of cronyism and corruption and should be eliminated. Much like the corrupt city redevelopment agencies, what actually ends up happening is that this money gets funneled by politicians to friends with connections for various projects that aren’t really about helping the poor at all.”

An analysis done by Reason on CDBG expenditures found that its money often wasn’t going at all to Meals on Wheels programs, or even to the neediest communities. As Mr. Shackford wrote: “Wealthier communities get the larger chunks of the money, particularly counties that — what a coincidence! — are in proximity to Washington, D.C.”

That’s called cronyism, folks.

It’s also fake news to declare ending CDBGs would eliminate the Meals on Wheels program.

More than a third of Meals on Wheels funding comes from an older federal grant dubbed the Older Americans Act, which Mr. Trump’s budget cuts don’t even touch. But reading the mainstream media’s headlines, you’d never know that. You’d just assume the elimination of the CDBG program would be the end to Meals on Wheels. That’s simply not true.

But there’s nothing like a little anti-Trump hysteria to drive the headlines of the day. Throwing in that all of you deplorables are going to hell for supporting such a budget was a nice touch.

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