Seat At The Table

The news of the last two months has been over charged with speculation and imagination as to “what the new administration will be like, do, etc.” In less than 24 hours the news will be what the new administration IS like, doing, etc. On the cusp of the change Washington DC’s The Hill reports “Trump team prepares dramatic cuts” by Alexander Bolton (1-19-17). “Staffers for the Trump transition team have been meeting with career staff at the White House ahead of Friday’s presidential inauguration to outline their plans for shrinking the federal bureaucracy, The Hill has learned.” “The proposed cuts hew closely to a blueprint published last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a think tank that has helped staff the Trump transition.” “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.” In parallel articles on this speculation, Deadline Hollywood claims that these three entities received .016% of the $4.6 trillion US budget in FY2016. Artnews reports that the NEA’s portion is .003%. The Hill goes on to state: “At the Department of Justice, the [Heritage Foundation] blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions. At the Department of Energy, it would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” Last week The Advocate ran a routine announcement: “The Newark Think Tank on Poverty will have a general meeting from… Plans for 2017 will be discussed.” Along with many events, the weekend’s icy weather also cancelled this meeting. Analysis finds the final line of its announcement to be more than prescient. The Think Tank’s mission is to obtain “a seat at the table” that concerns its participants – Job and Family Services policy making, Food Pantry distribution decisions, public transportation initiatives, etc. Analysis shows that planning for 2017 may be time well spent by organizations like The Newark Think Tank. Speculative news reporting culminating in what The Hill just presented definitely interrogate whether it is safe to assume that there even will be a table to vie for a seat at in the new administration.

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