In college I waited tables at a classy, nominally expensive steak house with a sophisticated clientele. But Mother’s Day was always different and we were flooded with one-time-out-a-year folks treating Mom for her day. Nice sentiment, but lousy tippers and unused to menus.
So this guy orders our least expensive items for his family of five (Grandma got the “Steak Tib-Bits on Toast with au jus,” i.e. trim ends with gravy). Which is fine, we served good food at all price points. For himself, however, he grandly ordered the “Chopped Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Sauce.” I took the order, put it in, and delivered the grub.
About a nano-second after I placed the plates he angrily called me and demanded to see the manager.
The manager came and I was accused of cheating him. Seems he thought I switched his “Chopped Sirloin Steak” order and substituted … wait for it … HAMBURGER. Duh!
The manager, bless his patience, said there must have been a mistake in the kitchen and went back and brought out a small New York strip. (Note: I wasn’t stiffed, but the tip was … meager.)
Now, what does that have to do with the current political situation?
In the next four years there’s gonna be a whole lot of complaining about getting hamburger instead of steak; ‘cause when people voted for Donald Trump they had no idea what they were ordering up.
(Just for the record: 49 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote; Trump lost the popular election by 3 million votes; and as president, is dramatically changing our country with only 25 percent of Americans behind him. Hardly a mandate.)
So what kind of chopped sirloin is he serving up? If you consider his new, proposed budget the menu, there sure won’t be any mushroom sauce with it.
Per his budget, he’s cutting funding to the U.S. Forest Service including the Olympic National Forest.
He’s cutting coastal marine management, research and education. (Say what … about the salmon, Dungeness crab, orca, gray whale, seals and seabirds in Puget Sound? Say, bye-bye.).
He’s eliminating funding for before-and-after school (and summer) programs.
Clean energy research is kaput.
Grants and loans for municipal water and sewer systems are kaput.
Low-income energy assistance is bye-bye, so say, “Howdy,” to colder homes for poorer people.
National Institutes of Health gets cut back by $5.8 billion. (Perfect timing as the number of people without health insurance rises.)
Some 3,200 people (20 percent of the total staff) at the EPA get RIFed, crippling clean air and water research and enforcement. Superfund cleanup money is gone; Clean Power Plant regulations are gone; stream protection from coal-company pollution is gone; and climate change work at the United Nations is gone.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS are gone, so say goodnight to the “Nightly News,” “Prairie Home Companion,” “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and “Masterpiece Theater.”
The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities are kaput as is the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholarship.
If you live in rural areas you’ll have to drive to big-city airports as subsidies for rural-area air service are kaput.
And oh, yes, there could be 14 million more people without health insurance next year and 21 million more in three years. If you’re not one of them I guess it’s no big deal. But if you are, stay healthy, my friend (which will be tougher due to cuts at NIH).
On the other hand Defense and Homeland Security get bumped up and the Veterans Administration gets more to do more for our veterans.
If the president had been elected with a resounding majority it would be tougher to question his proposed changes. But he wasn’t and his proposals are problematic for many.
Compounding his actions is his ineptitude. He didn’t “drain the swamp,” he filled it to overflowing with Wall Street insiders and alt.right ideologues. He blew his National Security advisor appointment; fumbled his immigration fiat; lied about Obama and wiretapping; lied about his inauguration; lied about voter fraud; lied about violence in Sweden, lied about jobs on the Keystone pipeline; lied about the Electoral College; lied about his opposition to the Iraq war; lied that only a “few” people were covered by Obamacare (it was 20 million); lied about saving money on Air Force One; lied about the homicide rate increasing; lied about health care for “everybody,” and lied about fake news.
President Trump acts like he has a mandate to change our America; and he claims he’s going to make American great again. But I don’t see 25 percent a mandate; and he’s yet to prove he’s great at anything, except telling people how great he thinks he is.
Tom Burke’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.