The first 100 days of Trump’s administration have been an unending assault on democracy and our communities: from stacking his cabinet with people committed to dismantling the very agencies they lead, to travel bans and deportations. Among these attacks, Trump has outlined a budget that was nothing short of a declaration of war on our families. When I think about what lies ahead, I worry most about the health and safety of our families.
I’ve experienced the impact of drastic cuts to social services before. They are disastrous for low-income families. During the Bush era, I was a young parent in New Mexico receiving child care assistance. Every month I had to bring in documentation to maintain my certification. One month, the staff person came back and said I had made $150 over the annual limit, and I no longer qualified for assistance. I panicked. I was working, and had two kids in elementary school. I cried. Then she started crying, too. She let me know that federal poverty guidelines had changed, and she had no choice but to follow them. She was devastated to share this information with parents all day.
Yet we New Mexicans are nothing if not resilient. My child care providers bent the rules to make sure my youngest child was taken care of — putting themselves as risk. My oldest child had to be on his own for more hours during the day, opening my family up to scrutiny from Child Protective Services. Everyone was at risk for that $150.
Trump has now completed his first 100 days, and countless budget fights are brewing in Congress. The safety and well-being of our families requires us to learn how to understand the federal budget from our hearts. The federal budget is a financial expression of our values. Every dollar we spend, every choice we make in cutting budgets or expanding…