One thing is clear in President Trump's sketchy budget outline: it will radically undercut this area's institutions, economy, and well-being.
The most mean-spirited cuts harm the most vulnerable, ranging from pregnant women in need of healthy meals to families desperately seeking treatment for loved ones caught up in the opioid epidemic, which claimed 900 lives in Philadelphia alone last year.
The unemployed looking for a library computer to tap out a job application may have to wait in line because the president wants to terminate the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.
People who need legal help could find the doors shut to the already underfunded Philadelphia Legal Assistance because its chief funder, the federal Legal Services Corporation, faces elimination.
Those reaching for higher education will learn that the small grants used by 96,000 college students in New Jersey and Pennsylvania last year are gone.
And commuters hoping to one day ride a train west to King of Prussia or east to Gloucester County had better find something else to dream about because those transportation programs are dead on arrival.
Trump's most penetrating blows are reserved for environmental programs, a frequent target on the campaign trail. He will halt the successful cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, which also was helping to clean the Susquehanna River, which carries toxins to the bay.
More broadly, his 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency means many more programs will be slashed, especially those aimed at slowing the harmful effects of climate change.
Then, he'll cover his tracks with cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's climate research programs, ensuring that as the environment withers, it will be hard for scientists to track the damage.
Neither Pennsylvania nor New Jersey may be able to fill that breach. Successive governors cut state environmental agency budgets to cover other expenses and relied on the federal EPA to protect water, air, land, and the public's health.
Combine Trump's proposed budget cuts with the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act and pain could be spread throughout the region. Hard hit will be the medical schools at Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, which not only provide essential care and research but are powerful economic engines in the region.
Damage to other Philadelphia treasures has already begun. The National Park Service has closed several buildings due to low staffing caused by the president's hiring freeze, including the home where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Cuts to the parks will be felt from Chestnut Street to Valley Forge, not only diminishing public access to national shrines but pulling tourism dollars from local businesses.
Trump is cutting domestic spending to hike the defense budget and give tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy. The rest of taxpaying Americans can only hope for a government that still works for the general welfare. Unfortunately, this budget will create a government that barely works at all.