Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Trump Administration's War on Black and Poor People

The Trump Administration is"Making America Great Again" by trampling on black and poor people. Trump seeks to:

1.  Suppress black and Latino voters

The Nation reports that:
The (President's voter) commission was set up for one purpose—to spread false information about voter fraud, like Trump’s gigantic lie that millions of people voted illegally, in order to build support for policies that make it more difficult to vote. Kobach and his ilk have long advocated for suppressive policies like strict voter-ID laws, documentary proof of citizenship for voter registration and voter purges, along with weakening landmark voting-rights laws like the Voting Rights Act and National Voter Registration Act.

2.  Escalate the War on Drugs thereby exacerbating the problem of mass incarceration

The Washington Post reports that:
Law enforcement officials say that Sessions and Cook (Stephen H. Cook) are preparing a plan to prosecute more drug and gun cases and pursue mandatory minimum sentences. The two men are eager to bring back the national crime strategy of the 1980s and ’90s from the peak of the drug war, an approach that had fallen out of favor in recent years as minority communities grappled with the effects of mass incarceration.

Crime is near historic lows in the United States, but Sessions says that the spike in homicides in several cities, including Chicago, is a harbinger of a “dangerous new trend” in America that requires a tough response.

3.  Reevaluate and reconsider police consent decrees

At a time when police have a license to kill black people with impunity, the Trump Administration is putting vital police reforms in jeopardy. If Trump has his way, there will be more Philando Castiles, Tamir Rices, Eric Garners, Terrence Crutchers, Michael Browns and Rekia Boyds. The New York Times reports that:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a sweeping review of federal agreements with dozens of law enforcement agencies, an examination that reflects President Trump’s emphasis on law and order and could lead to a retreat on consent decrees with troubled police departments nationwide.

In a memorandum dated March 31 and made public Monday, the attorney general directed his staff to look at whether law enforcement programs adhere to principles put forth by the Trump administration, including one declaring that “the individual misdeeds of bad actors should not impugn” the work police officers perform “in keeping American communities safe.”

...The broad review announced Monday could threaten some of those decrees if the Justice Department seeks to change its past stance about systematic police abuses in the affected agencies. But the Justice Department would not be able to unilaterally unwind the agreements without court intervention.
This is not a surprise for a couple of reasons. Prior to his appointment, now U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed his opposition to police consent decrees. Second, during the campaign, Donald Trump stated that he supports racial profiling and New York style unconstitutional stop and frisk programs.

4.  Drastically cut Section 8 and other housing programs

Truth-Out reports that:
The gutting of HUD would take money directly out of the hands of renters in need. The Post story notes, "Under the proposal, direct rental assistance payments -- including Section 8 Housing and housing vouchers for homeless veterans -- would be cut by at least $300 million, to $19.3 billion. Additionally, housing for the elderly -- known as the Section 202 program -- would be cut by $42 million, nearly 10 percent. Section 811 housing for people with disabilities would be cut by $29 million, nearly 20 percent. Money available for Native American housing block grants would fall by $150 million, more than 20 percent."

According to Rice's analysis of the Post report, if the cuts go through, "Housing Choice Vouchers that some 200,000 low-income households currently use to pay their rent would be eliminated in 2018." He explained, "Reducing the availability of this crucial support would increase and prolong homelessness for vulnerable people with disabilities, families with children and others."
These cut will adversely and disproportionately impact African Americans. As stated on Living Cities, "...there is another pernicious outcome of the lack of Section 8 resources for every eligible household. Lack of Section 8 fuels inequality and works a racial injustice. In 2014, one out of every 3.6 black households in metropolitan areas was extremely low income, a rate 2.2 times higher than white households. (Source: 2010-2014 ACS 5-Year Public Use Microdata Sample)"

5.  Substantially cut food assistance for the poor

As reported on Mother Jones,

The budget includes $193 billion in cuts over a decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps—25 percent of the program’s budget. About 44 million people benefit from food stamps in the United States, especially poorer states in the Southeast. For example, 1 out of every 5 people in Louisiana receive food stamps in a given month, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Trump’s proposed cuts to food stamps will by and large hit the states that voted for him the hardest. Louisiana voted overwhelmingly for Trump, as did its Southeast counterparts Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and Georgia. Out of the 10 states with the highest food stamp use by population, seven voted Republican in last year’s presidential election. (See more details in the list below.)
Similar to Section 8 cuts, food stamps cuts will disproportionately impact African Americans. Although African Americans are 13.3% of the U.S. population, we are 25.7 percent of those are on food stamps / SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program).

6.  Eliminate health insurance for 22 million people, many of whom are African American
The Trump Administration health care bill would have caused 22 million to lose their health insurance. According to the New York Times, the Budget Office found:
that next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law. Premiums and out-of-pocket expenses could shoot skyward for some low-income people and for people nearing retirement, it said.

The bottom line is this. The Trump Administration has declared war on black and poor people. We must fight back. We must resist. We must lobby Congress and fiercely oppose the Trump Administration's legislative agenda. We must vote out Trump's allies during the mid-term elections. We must do everything in our power to ensure that this is Trump's last term in office.

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