After Trump’s budget came out a few weeks ago, I thought about my daily routine and how the cuts he is proposing would impact my day to day life. Here’s a day in my life thinking about the impacts of budget cuts and the AHCA.
At 7 am, as I get dressed, I make a mental note to start work on my loan forgiveness program. Something I’ve been meaning to do for months. I’ve been teaching in a public elementary school in Brooklyn for five years now. Like many of my colleagues, I’m in debt and counting on federal loan forgiveness for public servants to pay off my loans — -for now.
I ride my bike to work. I can breathe easily. Trees line the streets. For now.I imagine what it would feel like to bike to school along the East River without regulations that keep our air and water clean, without a well funded EPA. My school, in Williamsburg Brooklyn, is right near a superfund site.
I arrive in my classroom and start setting up for the day. My school relies on Title One funding for low income schools from the federal government and serves a diverse population of students and families. Although Title One funds are safe in the new budget, we also host a federally funded free after school program. Hundreds of our kids do their homework and eat their dinners as part of this program. For now.
Many of my students receive occupational and physical therapy provided through Medicaid — -for now. These are services my students desperately need. With cuts to Medicaid, school districts across the country may have to cut funding for these services for children.
My students include immigrants from the Dominican republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Many of these families are already being pushed out of our gentrified neighborhood because of sky-high rents. With cuts to public and affordable housing, many more of them will likely become homeless. I have students who already live in shelters and rely on food stamps- another program that Trump wants to cut. I know from experience that it is not possible to teach a hungry child who hasn’t slept the night before.
In the middle of my first class, a student starts crying because she doesn’t feel well. I feel her forehead and she has a fever. I send her to the nurse and quickly wash my hands before continuing with the lesson. I can feel safe that myself and my students won’t be exposed to dangerous contagious diseases thanks to the CDC and the NIH. For now. What happens when they lose funding?
After lunch, I get an email from my doctor telling me that my bloodwork is normal. I am immunosuppressed because I had a liver transplant when I was 19. It means I get sick easily and often, and it’s why I have to quickly wash my hands after interacting with a sick child. Because I have a pre-existing condition, insurance companies don’t want to cover my care. But they have to because of the ACA. For now.
I get home and I make myself dinner. I can trust that the food I purchased is safe to eat and the water I’m drinking is clean. For now. Without EPA regulations on industry dumping in waterways, will clean water become a luxury item?
Trump’s budget has REAL implications for ALL of us. Every day.