Melinda Henneberger

Melinda Henneberger: Truth from Mick Mulvaney

Of proposed cuts to our safety net, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney dropped this weapons-grade truth bomb: “We have plenty of money in this country to take care of the people who need help. We don’t have enough money to take care of people, everybody who doesn’t need help.”

Exactly. So why, then, does the budget systematically take from those who need help the most — $272 billion in cuts to Medicaid, disability benefits, food aid and job training over the next decade — to fund defense spending and trillions in tax cuts for those who need help the least? Of course, he didn’t mean those people who don’t need help, but these: “If you’re on food stamps, and you’re able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”

Cutting health care for the poor is a dream come true for many congressional Republicans. And that’s not an exaggeration, but a direct quote: “So Medicaid, sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate, we’ve been dreaming of this” since college, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in March. So, what are food stamp recipients who do work but don’t earn enough to feed their families to do? Get “the right mind-set,” says HUD head Ben Carson, since poverty is largely “a state of mind.”