White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney asserted on March 16 that a food program for elderly people and after-school programs for kids were not showing results (video below).
Mulvaney was defending the Trump administration's proposed $3 billion budget cut of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). States then use money from those grants to fund programs like Meals on Wheels, notes Talking Points Memo:
The CDBGs have been identified as programs since I believe the second Bush administration as ones that were just not showing any results. We can't do that anymore.
We can't spend money on programs just because they sound good. Great, Meals on Wheels sounds great. That's a state decision to fund that particular portion.
To take the federal money and give it to the states and say, "Look, we're going to give you money for programs that don't work." I can't defend that anymore. We can't defend that anymore. We're $20 trillion in debt.
We're gonna spend money. We're gonna spend a lot of money. But we're not gonna spend it on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we made to people.
The Meals on Wheels website says the service feeds nearly two-and-a-half million seniors every year:
We serve more than 2.4 million seniors from 60 to 100+ years old each year. These are our loved-ones, parents, grandparents, veterans and neighbors. They are primarily older than 60 and because of physical limitations or financial reasons, have difficulty shopping for or preparing meals for themselves.
From rural communities to urban centers across the country, hardly any senior is beyond our reach. More than half a million of the people we serve are veterans. 64% of clients are women. 40% live in poverty.
A 2015 study by Brown University Assistant Professor Kali Thomas found that home-delivered meals provided seniors with nutrition and significant reductions in feelings of loneliness. The study also found that the elderly people who had meals delivered experienced less hospitalization and fewer falls.
During the same press conference, Mulvaney was asked about after-school educational programs, many of which will take a big cut if the Trump administration follows through on its plan to eliminate 21st Century Community Learning Centers, notes Fortune (same video below).
Mulvaney told reporters that after-school programs were generally not helping kids:
Let's talk about after-school programs, generally. They're supposed to be educational programs, right? That's what they're supposed to do. They're supposed to help kids who don't get fed at home get fed so they do better at school.
Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually helping results, they're helping kids do better in school.
When we took your money from you to say, "Look, we're going to go spend it on an after-school program," the way we justified it was: these programs are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs. And we can't prove that that's happening.
Heather Weiss of the independent Global Family Research Project told The Washington Post that after-school programs are helping kids: "There is a lot of evidence. Engaging kids in high-quality after-school programs, many of which are supported by 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants, results in kids doing better in school. They’re more likely to graduate and to excel in the labor market."
The Washington Post notes that more than 1.6 million children are at risk of losing their after-school programs if the Trump administration follows through on its cuts.
New taxpayer money --- $1.4 billion — would be allocated by Trump to charter schools, vouchers for private schools and a new setup in which parents would choose the public schools they want to send their children to; $1 billion in federal funds would follow the kids.