Celia Rivenbark

Budget cuts are setbacks for nation’s neediest | From the Belle Tower

By Celia Rivenbark

Tribune News Service

Now that President Trump has promised to resuscitate the dying coal industry (“There’s a little black spot on my lung todaaaaay”), what’s next? Mandatory installation of cow-catchers on Amtrak trains? Seems about right.

What about bustles? I’ve been thinking my butt needs to look even larger; that should do the trick.

We’ve got a decent head start on resurrecting measles and whooping cough thanks to the anti-vacc wingnuts so, perhaps with Trump’s fresh pledge to gut funding for the National Institutes of Health, we can finally get ‘er done. Oh, rickets; we hardly knew ye. But there’s still time! Somewhere Kate Hudson is probably already designing Fabletics leggings for symptomatic bowed legs.

I know what some of you are saying: President Trump knows there’s no way we can build that “really the most beautiful” eleventy-billion-dollar border wall AND support cancer scientists. The Trump administration defends the proposed cuts by saying they counter what it calls “mission creep” at the NIH. Oh, there’s a creep loose around the greater D.C. area but it dang sure isn’t in the lifesaving labs at the NIH.

Trump’s first-pass budget, being fine-tuned from now until May, should be called “1956 called and wants its very essence back.”

Because Trump has a tough time evoking the faux purity of the ‘50s, Mike Pence should sub in as the face of this new forward-into-the-past administration. While less charitable liberals have poked fun at Pence for saying he won’t attend parties without the missus if demon rum is served, I think it’s kinda sweet.

Lawsy, what if dancing breaks out? Would Pence cut loose? Foot loose? Kick off his Sunday shoes? Meanwhile, Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price’s evangelical hair gets even more, well, evangel-icky. In photo-ops, Pence and Price proudly flank Trump as he sets about the task of neutering the EPA and the CDC, slashing programs to prevent pollution and teen pregnancy. They remind me of the evil eels Flotsam and Jetsam rallying around Ursula the Sea Witch in “The Little Mermaid.” Oh, we poor, unfortunate souls … To be fair, Trump is just fulfilling his campaign promises. But something tells me some of you were a little nervous when you realized Trumpcare’s passage would mean Meemaw might lose her Medicaid bed and have to move back into your den. Turns out sickly old people, not hordes of able-bodied drug addicts Snapchattin' on their iPhones all day, are the ones who would’ve felt the brunt of those cuts.

Meanwhile, Mexico collectively belly-laughed so hard at the notion that it will pay for the border wall, it almost spontaneously separated itself right there at Juarez. Trump has to find the money somewhere. Enter draconian cuts, which sounds like the world’s worst name for a hair salon by the way.

With the deepest cuts in education (book learnin'), health (see Meemaw above) and labor (oh you greedy fast-food workers with three jobs), it may be awhile before we see “Happy Days” again.