Editorial: Trump outlines changes that could alter local institutions
President Donald Trump’s first state of the nation address outlined many major policy shifts.
He was vocal about his views on those who are able-bodied but aren’t working, and the astounding number of people on “food stamps.”
“Over 43 million people are now living in poverty, and over 43 million Americans are on food stamps,” according to his first speech before the joint session of House and Senate yesterday afternoon, Guam time. That's about 14 percent of the entire nation's population.
More than one in five people in their prime working years are not working, Trump said.
He also highlighted his focus on increased spending to beef up the military and making cuts elsewhere. He wants to be tough on immigrant criminals, whom he wants to deport.
There are various other ways that the Trump presidency could alter the way things are on Guam, and we still don’t know exactly what the various impacts would be.
Trump has highlighted the need to allow consumers to buy health insurance beyond their locality and across state lines. His administration has publicly indicated support for allowing elementary to high school students a choice to attend public schools, charter schools or private schools through school-choice voucher programs.
Many of these decisions that are being made in Washington, D.C. would shift so many institutional practices that have been rooted on the island for decades.
If Trump thinks too many people are on food stamps, and if cuts do get made, what would this mean to the tens of thousands of Guam residents whose households get the means to buy food this way?
If Trump wants to give public school students the choice of attending classes outside of public schools, what does this mean to the students, their teachers and the rest of the public schools’ personnel?
If he wants more military spending, what does this mean for Guam, which already hosts two military bases and an upcoming Marine Corps base?
We can only ask these questions for now and hope that our island leaders have a plan B for when the federal funding dollars shift or begin to slow down.
In fiscal 2015, GovGuam revenue sources included $298.3 million in federal grants, and in addition to that, $57.8 million in federal grants went to the Guam Department of Education.
It's unclear if GovGuam would be ready to fill in the funding gap, if federal dollars do start to come in slower and lesser than what the island had been accustomed to.