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Commentary—Project 2025 to Rural America: Let Them Eat Cake (Without a Nutrition Label)
Commentary—Project 2025 to Rural America: Let Them Eat Cake (Without a Nutrition Label)
Commentary—Project 2025 to Rural America: Let Them Eat Cake (Without a Nutrition Label)

Published on: 07/09/2024

Description

Project 2025 has been so much in the news lately that former President Donald Trump had to respond to the right-wing policy proposals, which the Heritage Foundation put together in hopes of implementation under another Trump presidency.

“I know nothing about Project 2025. I have no idea who is behind it,” Trump said. “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

In a familiar rhetorical pattern, Trump says two contradictory things at the same time: Parts of Project 2025 are “absolutely ridiculous and abysmal” and “anything they do I wish them luck.”

Well, there is a third contradictory thing: “I know nothing about it.” 

But anyone reading through the nearly 1,000 pages of Project 2025 might easily be two-minded, or three-minded, about it.  It is vast and dense.

Nevertheless, there is a predominant theme threaded throughout: Federal government must be downsized, decentralized, and disempowered as much as possible, as rapidly as possible, just as soon as conservatives gain control the federal government.  And embedded within this theme is a prominent second thread: that the enemy – variously named “that institutionalized cadre of progressive political commissars,” “LGBT advocates,” “the pursuit of racial parity,” “racial and gender ideologies,” etc. — must be vanquished. 

You may see different patterns, but this is what I discerned.  Readers should look for themselves.  Find the chapter(s) that matter to you.  You may choose from sections titled “Taking the Reins of Government,” “The Common Defense,” “The General Welfare,” “The Economy,” and “Independent Regulatory Agencies,” with each major federal government agency discussed.  I spent a couple days reading through the 1,000 pages to glean what is being proposed to support healthy rural populations and thriving rural communities.  Not very much.

In fact, the entire subsection “Rural Health” (Chapter 14, Department of Health and Human Services, at p. 449) is shorter than the subsection on “Wild Horses and Burros” (Chapter 16, Department of the Interior, at p. 528). Empathy for the four-footed ungulates is conveyed by discussion of their “iconic presence” described as “not a new issue … not just a western issue- it is an American issue.”  We two-footed humans rate similar patriotic rhetoric – “seeking space for one’s family and cultivating the land are valued goals that are deeply rooted in America’s fabric” – but the paltry few policy proposals – less than one page out of nearly 1,000 – are insulting.

For example, to increase the supply of health care providers by reducing regulatory burdens on “volunteers wishing to provide temporary, charitable services across state lines,” and to encourage “less expensive alternatives to hospitals and telehealth independent of expensive air ambulances,”  Challenge me if I am wrong, but these proposals explicitly, in writing, advise that rural communities can, at best, expect “second class,” maybe just “third class,” treatment from Project 2025 Conservative elites.  But at least Project 2025 doesn’t advise “humane disposal” for sick rural folks as it does for the horses and burros.

Moving on to some other rural concerns Project 2025 advises:

Mobile technologies: “[W]idespread deployment of infrastructure for 5G adoption in rural and exurban areas, which will be a key factor in future economic competitiveness for these under-served communities” [Note: Those charitable volunteers may not come help us without that.]

Veterans: Department of Veterans Affairs should “reimagine the health care footprint in some locales, and spur a realignment of capacity through budgetary allocations,” for example “Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) as an avenue to maintain a VA footprint in challenging medical markets without investing further in obsolete and unaffordable VA health care campuses” and “facility-sharing partnerships between the VA and strained local health care systems to reduce costs by leveraging limited talent and resources” [Note: The context of these proposals is aging facilities and declining patient numbers, particularly in rural areas, that are too expensive and inefficient to replace; but considering the weak proposals for rural health care, these proposals are not likely viable and rural veterans will be treated like other rural residents, “second” and “third” class.]  

Farms: Numerous programs that moderate risk faced by family farms are axed: “Elimination of the Conservation Reserve Program. Farmers should not be paid in such a sweeping way not to farm their land. … The USDA should work with Congress to eliminate this overbroad program.”

And “repeal the ARC (Agriculture Risk) and PLC (Price Loss) programs. … The ARC program is especially egregious because farmers are being protected from losses, which is another way of saying minor dips in expected revenue. This is hardly consistent with the concept of providing a safety net to help farmers when they fall on hard times.” [ note: there is considerable curiosity in distant elites advising farmers about “hard times” and the risks of farming]

Food security: Numerous proposals in Project 2025 intend to reduce numbers and eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known commonly as the food stamp program) and for school meals [Note: Food insecurity is rising faster in rural areas.]

Eliminating nutritional labeling and dietary guidelines: “There is no shortage of private sector dietary advice for the public, and nutrition and dietary choices are best left to individuals to address their personal needs. This includes working with their own health professionals.” [Note: Rural residents are less likely to have “their own health professionals” or reliable access to any health professional, or other specific dietary advice.]

Throughout Project 2025’s 1,000 pages are hundreds upon hundreds of proposals.   But perhaps these few gleanings advise that despite bashing progressive elites, Project 2025’s conservative elites know and care little about rural realities, problems, values, and priorities. 


Edward Strickler Jr is a volunteer with Braver Angels, a national, civil society organization that brings together people from across partisan divides to support civic renewal.  He supports Braver Angels’ programs concerned with restoring trustworthiness of public health after the Covid pandemic and is cofounder of the Braver Angels Equality (LGBTQ) Caucus. He is retired from the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia and lives with his husband in rural Virginia. 

The post Commentary—Project 2025 to Rural America: Let Them Eat Cake (Without a Nutrition Label) appeared first on The Daily Yonder.

News Source : https://dailyyonder.com/commentary-project-2025-to-rural-america-let-them-eat-cake-without-a-nutrition-label/2024/07/09/

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