When President Obama announced his budget plan this month, he proposed cutting or eliminating over 200 federal programs and expanding military spending and funding for the construction of nuclear power plants. The Nation‘s John Nichols joined Democracy Now! today to talk about the president’s misplaced priorities.

The proposal includes cutting half of the funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program, money that will have to be made up for by already-strained state, county and municipal governments, Nichols says.

“The LIHEAP program is not some… benefit that the government throws out if it’s got a little extra money. It’s life and death. This is something that decides whether people can heat their homes in frigid climates. It’s also something that really decides whether communities can maintain their services. Remember, we’re talking about places that don’t have a choice on whether you’re going to use home heating oil, whether you’re going to use heating oil to heat your schools and your community centers. You have to do it," he says.

When he announced the program, Obama explained that these cuts will bring domestic discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.

“I wish President Obama would remember what Dwight Eisenhower said about defense spending versus domestic spending. Dwight Eisenhower said, every time you buy a bomb, every time you pay for a bullet, that’s money that comes out of building a school or putting a roof on a house. I just think the President is making a lot of wrong choices here,” Nichols says.

Sara Jerving