With so many things losing funding under the Trump Administration, it’s mind-blowing that money is instead being used to pay for a border wall. Here are a few more practical ways to spend these funds (up to $20 billion, according to The New York Times), than building a wall spanning 1,900 miles.
1. Healthcare for all Americans.
As I stated in my last article, I am among the countless Americans who could lose access to healthcare if a viable replacement to the Affordable Care Act is not put into motion. People with pre-existing conditions, young adults who will no longer be able to receive help from their parents until they can afford their own plans, and an overwhelming number of American citizens who are unable to pay outrageous premiums for a variety of reasons all stand to lose.
2. Cancer screenings, STI tests and treatments, sexual education programs, and the prevention of hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies yearly.
Planned Parenthood does much more than provide abortion services, and no matter what your stance on abortion, you can’t deny the value of educating young people about their reproductive health and providing tests to prevent disease and methods to treat it.
3. The arts, the humanities, and culture.
The National Endowment for the Arts and The National Endowment for the Humanities give grants to fund projects of these types across America. Fortune states: “arts and cultural production contributed more than $704 billion to the U.S. Economy — this accounts for 4.2% of the United States GDP and is greater than the contributions of the construction ($586.7 billion), transportation and, warehousing ($464.1 billion) industries.” The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is also losing funding. It is responsible for not only educational children’s programming, including Sesame Street, but also a program called Veterans Coming Home, which sheds light on what veterans’ lives look like after they return home and helps to fund services for them (Time).
4. Developmental agencies that are beneficial to America.
The Minority Business Development Agency and Economic Development Administration, which benefit American-owned businesses and communities, are losing their funding. Together, their budgets total approximately 25% of $1 billion (Time), bringing them collectively to 1.2% of the wall’s total cost.
5. Protecting victims of violence.
The Office of Violence Against Women, which costs less than half a billion dollars to run (Time), fights to reduce physical and sexual violence by assisting victims and training officers to help end violent situations. It is also on the list of organizations to which the President wishes to cut spending.
6. Trade and manufacturing.
Perhaps we should continue to fund the International Trade Administration, which increases the revenue of American companies by helping them sell their products abroad as well as domestically, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which helps businesses become more efficient.
7. Much, much more.
There are countless ways $20 billion could be better spent than on building a wall across the entire border between two countries. Mexico is not the problem. Blaming an entire nation and its people for the actions of a few and punishing them as well as Americans, who will also suffer from the strained national relations, is completely ridiculous.