The Trump administration is the gift that keeps on giving to people who write about politics. Even if I still published seven days a week I couldn’t cover everything. One of last week’s many gifts was the Trump administration’s budget proposal. It was titled America First and sub-titled A Budget Blueprint To Make America Great Again. There is just too much material here! Let’s explore a bit of it.
I will not be able to cover everything today but the budget’s cover is just too tempting to pass up. Trump’s oft used phrase of America First is directly lifted from the verbiage of pre-World War II American Nazi sympathizers. You knew he just had to work his unpatriotic campaign slogan “Make America great Again” into it somewhere.
I learned many things from former Vice President Joe Biden one of them was his common refrain, “Don’t tell me your value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” Simple wisdom from Amtrak Joe! Trump showed us what he values with his budget. Fortunately it is DOA in Congress!
Three areas received increases in funding: the departments of Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS) and Veterans Affairs (VA).
Maintaining a huge fighting force certainly requires spending a large budget. America already spends far more on its military than any other nation in the history of the world. Currently we spend more than the next six or seven nations combined. If there is a place where we have fat in the budget and wasteful spending it is in DOD. I’m not with those who want 50% cuts, but a $54 billion increase is simply a waste of money and an opportunity cost America cannot afford.
On the surface an increase in the DHS budget seems prudent considering the threat terrorism poses. A quick looks at the details shows us that most of it ($2.6 billion) is slated for the ridiculous wall on the Mexican border. I thought Trump guaranteed Mexico was going to pay for it.
Even as one who has never worn the uniform I feel we do not do enough for our veterans. For at least a decade, the VA’s biggest problem has been lack of capacity to address veterans’ needs. A budget increase is well in order.
Now I’d like to take an incomplete looks at the cuts. This is budget looks much more like it had Vladimir Putin’s priorities in mind than John Q. Public’s! It will leave America sicker, less well educated, weaker in the eyes of the world, less prepared for the future and with a weaker economy.
The State Department takes a cut in the 30% range. The first thing that jumps to mind is the hypocrisy of cutting State’s budget when one of the big criticisms campaigner Trump and his GOP buddies used against Hillary Clinton and President Obama was Benghazi. Without getting too deep into the weeds more security costs more money. When that was pointed out the GOP said they expected State to spend more on security. Therefore they expect State to cut the budget for other functions by an even greater margin. One of the many ways America outshines Russia is by its diplomatic power. Sounds like Vlad won this round.
In conjunction with Trumpcare, the budget cuts many health related programs that directly benefit the poor and by extension all Americans. (We all breathe the same air.) The National Institutes of Health are looking at a 19% budget cut. Does Trump have some crystal ball that tells him we are never going to be faced with a threat like Ebola or Zika in the future? But the evil goes far beyond that. The EPA is taking a big hit. Who needs all those “job killing government regulation” anyway? To that I pose my usual question: how much is your house or job worth when you can’t breathe the air or drink the water? I rest my case!
Trump went after a lot of traditional Republican targets in his budget. He wants to totally cut off funds for things like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. In that package of cuts are programs like Meals on Wheels that literally feed Americans. These entire “cultural” cuts amount to a bit less than $1 billion in a $4 trillion dollar budget. It seems like a lot of harm to produce very little savings. (That is if you don’t count the cost of the repercussions of these cuts.)
A couple of other programs that are gutted are the cleanup efforts for Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes. I’m a native of Buffalo, one of the large Great Lakes cities. One of the biggest things cities like that have to base their future on is an abundant supply of fresh water. By not cleaning up the Great Lakes you have all but sealed the fate of these dying cities unless you are foolish enough to believe Trump that he is bringing back the steel mill and auto plant jobs.
Time limits me but I could go on and on. However I think I made my points. If Trump really has any values they are not those of the American people and Vladimir Putin is the big winner in a Trump budget that would produce a weaker, sicker and less well informed population.
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