American values at risk
President Trump proposes a budget that ensures polluted air, water, and soil; strips international aid and goodwill; threatens public radio and television; endangers labor unions; shreds the safety net of our most vulnerable citizens; and much more (" 'Hard power budget,' " Friday).
In exchange, he proposes a bigger military and tighter borders, but what American values are left to protect? Certainly not empathy, compassion, or justice.
|Bill Dingfelder, Philadelphia
Cuts mean park closings
The closure of some of Philadelphia's most notable historic sites, including Ben Franklin's home and print shop and the house where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence illustrates the National Park Service's major struggle with underfunding, a struggle that would only be exacerbated under the president's proposed budget cuts ("Federal hiring freeze puts chill on historic sites," Wednesday).
The Park Service has been underfunded for years, resulting in fewer staff members, reduction in interpretive services that help visitors understand our history, and a $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog. Pennsylvania's national park sites alone need more than $300 million in repairs, including more than $49 million at Independence National Historical Park.
Parks need more money, not less. We all want our children and grandchildren to experience national parks the way they deserve to. Congress needs to reject these cuts and instead invest in these American treasures.
|Theresa Pierno, president and chief executive officer, National Parks Conservation Association, Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elderly rely on Meals on Wheels
Each year, Generations of Indian Valley provides more than 80,000 meals to homebound older adults in the 15 municipalities we serve. In addition to two nutritious meals daily for our 180 to 195 clients, our program benefits from the volunteer service of nearly 300 community members who help prepare, pack, and deliver these meals.
Daily deliveries provide personal interaction and daily assurance for clients and their family members that those we serve are alright. All too often, our daily visits are the first to find a client who has fallen, or become ill, or worse.
Providing meals to homebound older adults allows them to remain in their homes, delays or prevents far more costly institutionalization, and gives them the dignity to remain independent. How is it that these programs should lose all federal funding? I wonder if the older adults who ate those 80,000 meals in their own homes would agree.
|Douglas Eschbach, executive director, Generations of Indian Valley, Souderton
Don't chop legal aid funding
Eliminating funding for the Legal Services Corp. poses a threat to our entire community. Denying funding for civil legal aid prevents access to justice for all. The Philadelphia Bar Association has a longstanding history of support for the provision of civil legal aid, which helps ensure fairness for all in our justice system, especially those living at or below the poverty level.
Philadelphia has the highest rate of poverty among the country's 10 largest cities, and legal aid is an invaluable tool to fight poverty and protect the safety and well-being of low-income families. In Pennsylvania, studies have shown that such aid yields an investment return of about $11 for every $1 spent. Across the country, such aid has reduced taxpayer costs by preventing homelessness, securing health benefits, and averting harm from domestic violence.
LSC funding has been cut in recent years, while demand for these essential services increases. Only 20 percent, at best, of those in need can obtain civil legal aid, and for each person served by LSC recipients, another is turned away for lack of resources.
We will continue to urge the rejection of any attempts to eliminate or decrease LSC funding in the coming budget cycle.
|Deborah R. Gross, chancellor, Philadlephia Bar Association, Philadelphia, email@example.com
Trump, not GOP, holding reins
President Trump represents "We the people" - the hard-working, tax-paying people of this country who are sick and tired of the corruption and immorality in the Washington establishment. In Trump, we have someone who actually intends to do what he said he would do, which scares the daylights out of the politicians and bureaucrats. The establishment's reaction to Trump's proposed budget cuts can be compared to a drug addict who has just been told he's going into rehab.
Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican leaders in the Senate and House respectively, better wake up and realize Trump was not elected because he's a Republican. He was elected because he ran as Trump, and the electorate believed he meant what he said and is tired of the fraud and the waste and influence peddling with special interests.
Trump is leading the way to a new day of a smaller federal government, returning much of the responsibility to the states, where it belongs. Big federal agencies are an insult to the state and local governments. We do not need Big Brother in Washington running our lives. The Republican Party has not won anything. If it were not for Trump and the Tea Party, Democrats would be in charge today. And November 2018 is coming.
|Joe Hegarty, Mullica Hill
Leaders, stand up to president
President Trump's budget has been carefully crafted to further divide America. It pits the elites, who still enjoy the arts and culture, against those who can't or are just not interested. It arrays mayors of some cities struggling to make ends meet and deal with complex, expensive problems against those in cities and towns across America whose problems may be different but are nonetheless real. And, perhaps worst of all, it will divide Congress even further, as our representatives fight with each other to preserve what little scraps are left for them to bring home to their constituents.
Our best hope would be to see America's governors, mayors, and representatives band together - regardless of political party - to tell Trump that his actions are unacceptable, and to then work together to seek reasonable compromises and start to solve problems in ways that help us all. Sadly, I see little evidence of this happening.
|Frank Friedman, Delanco
Military worth rebuilding
As a Navy veteran and a strong supporter of our military, I commend President Trump for proposing to increase the defense budget by $54 billion, but it should be decreased by $1.3 billion, with that money used to maintain the Coast Guard's budget.
Our military has shrunk dramatically and been neglected. Although technology has increased its capabilities, we have downsized our forces and have not adequately replaced worn out equipment.
China and Russia continue to build up their military forces. Iran has a large army and continues with its missile development program. North Korea continues to test long-range missiles and develop nuclear armaments.
Trump should continue to rebuild our military so we can meet the military challenges in the world, preserve our national security, and keep the peace.
|Donald Moskowitz, Londonderry, N.H.
Losing NASA's climate data
Part of the Trump administration's budget plan is to cut roughly $100 million from NASA's earth sciences program by canceling four climate-related missions, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.
Earth-observing spacecraft provide data critical to understanding the atmosphere, oceans, ice caps and ice sheets, and the biosphere. These NASA "eyes" must not be blinded by the administration.
Join those of us who want science to be used to address mankind's major challenges and don't be quiet while GOP members of Congress allow such budget choices.
|John Conrad, West Chester
Environment is at stake
President Trump should not cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 31 percent; defund the Clean Power Plan, which in Pennsylvania would cut carbon emissions from power plants by 24 percent; cut the Superfund program budget, which funds industrial waste cleanup, almost in half; eliminate funding for environmental work for areas such as Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, and Puget Sound ("Fallout from EPA cuts," Sunday).
He should make America's environment great again, too.
|Mark Knight, St. Davids
$2.6 billion for Mexico wall?
Can someone explain why President Trump's budget plan allocates $2.6 billion of our tax dollars for a wall that he assured us Mexico would pay for ("Contract notices give planned specs on wall," Sunday)?
I think we've been conned.
|Bill Dunham, Bryn Mawr