- - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The liberal fainting couch continues to get a workout. Since President Trump announced his budget last week, the poor liberal base has been pummeled with hysterical headlines announcing Mr. Trump’s desire to destroy the Meals on Wheels program. Once he’s done with that, he’ll murder Big Bird. And then after that, the evil and depraved genius has figured out how to completely eradicate all the “arts” in America.

Or maybe it’s all false hysteria delivered by temper tantrum-throwing, fixated wrecks who see their victimhood in everything ranging from the president to an image in a burnt slice of toast.

Let’s get to the business at hand: Mr. Trump’s budget doesn’t “kill” anything. It cuts through waste, fraud and abuse, redirecting funds where they can genuinely improve the quality of life for all Americans. For liberals, this is anathema: Government, you see, is the savior, and big government redistributing your money is important. Why? Because you’re too dumb to handle it yourself.

Just ask Jonathan Gruber.

The week in fake news started with headlines like this from Time magazine: “Trump’s budget would eliminate Meals on Wheels.” And from The Hill, “Trump Proposed Budget Eliminates Funds for Meals on Wheels.” Neither are true.

It might surprise you to know that Meals on Wheels doesn’t actually receive federal funding directly. As the Washington Examiner points out, “Trumps’ budget … calls for the elimination of the Community Development Block Grant program. The CDBG, which started under President Gerald Ford, is meant to fight poverty. Unfortunately, much of the cash goes to programs that have very little to do with helping the poor. ‘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,’ Reason’s Scott Shackford explained.”

The more the feds are in charge of social issues, the worse things become. Individuals and their communities look away, allowing for the rise of the political specialty of fraud and abuse.

The real solution is for private citizens and communities to engage on the issues. And that’s already happening for a program like Meals on Wheels. A headline on the liberal website Fusion is especially amusing: “Trump’s attempt to defund Meals on Wheels and other programs for the poor backfires spectacularly.” What’s the story about? “Meals on Wheels America spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette told CNN [the program] … has seen a 500 percent spike in the number of volunteers signing up to help. … Meals on Wheels also received 50 times the normal amount of daily donations on Thursday, CNN reported.”

As CounterMoonbat, a popular contributor on Twitter, noted, “I wouldn’t exactly call a demonstration that private charity can fill these needs as ‘backfiring.’ ” And that’s exactly the point. Everyone is better off when not subject to the largess of government.

The fake panic over the Trump budget killing Big Bird is even more instructive. Politico breathlessly wondered, “Can Big Bird Survive Trump?” And USA Today chimed in with “Could Trump’s 2018 budget kill Sesame Street’s beloved Big Bird?” Um, no.

Pearls were crushed into dust over the bird with NPR noting, “Funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be cut to zero under the proposal, and the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely, the first time any president has proposed such a measure.” Good.

Who doesn’t love the arts? But it’s not the federal government’s responsibility, and the arts will do even better without politicians’ involvement.

For perspective, the CPB receives $445 million in federal funding, with NEA and NEH receiving $148 million each, according to NPR. It is a small portion of their entire budget. So who can make up for the difference? So many celebrities are decrying the budget reduction. My guess is there are 100 celebrities who can team up and donate $4.5 million each to the CPB. Problem solved.

Dealing in fake news is even easier when you actually don’t know the facts. For all the fainting over Mr. Trump’s budget reduction for CPB and its supposed fatal effect on Big Bird, few noticed “Sesame Street” is no longer a PBS property. HBO is now home to the bird and his friends. Investor’s Business Daily reported, “In 2015, it signed a five-year deal with HBO, which gets exclusive rights to air new episodes for nine months on its premium cable network. … At the time, ‘Sesame Street’ co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney said that the changing media landscape meant that ‘in order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.’”

What a concept. It’s also the smart business move.

The real issue here for liberals isn’t the budget reductions. They know nothing is being destroyed. What this is really about is the idea that the government can actually get smaller, less taxpayer money can be spent, and government itself can have less involvement in our lives, and things will get better. That is the ultimate threat to the liberal narrative.

My advice for liberals? Get a bigger fainting couch and more pearls because smaller government and more freedom are coming.

Tammy Bruce, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk show host.

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