Posted: 03/18/17 16:06, Edited: 03/18/17 23:30
by Dave Mindeman
Yesterday, the Charleston, WV Gazette-Mail newspaper had an interesting headline...
Trump Budget Slams West Virginia
Trump won in WV with 69% of the vote. He made promises there about coal that he can never keep. He promised jobs that will never happen. But a pretty desperate population believe it. And they are watching and waiting.
Trump voters have been patient. They still believe in him (although why that would be, given his record on truth is still a mystery).
But Trump's actions have not matched his words when it comes to the coal country expectations. He keeps talking up coal. He keeps up the rhetoric they want to hear. But he has no plan. And there is no help in his proposed budget. In fact, he makes things worse.
West Virginia Appalachia is very dependent on the ACA health plan. They are aware that Trump joined in the GOP repeal mantra- but they were convinced that this would not apply to them. Trump would not let that happen. He would accommodate their needs.
But, as the West Virginia paper explained, you cannot escape the fact that what Trump plans will make a bad situation much, much, worse.
One of the basic cuts in the Trump budget is to eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission. This agency was not solving the WV job problem, but it was presenting an interim life line with small job projects which helped on the margins. It was completely funded by the Federal government and if that funding goes away, the Commission will also go away. West Virginia doesn't have the means to fund it directly.
The Commission goes all the way back to 1960 and John F. Kennedy. It has done what it can with the limited resources it has been given over the years, but Donald Trump is ending it. Ending it without regards to his own supporters who need it so very much.
I don't know how Appalachia coal country can keep wishing and hoping. How long can they put their faith in a President who has already moved past them...a President who has forgotten their plight now that he doesn't need them.
But he has made it clear that helping them is not the priority they thought it would certainly have to be.
Coal country needs a new diversified economy...not promises to take them back to the mining company robber barons of the past.
That is the bottom line.