Friday, March 17, 2017

A Step in the Right Direction

Trump has released his first budget proposal.  It is the most radical budget proposal ever offered by a president in the last seven million years…give or take.  The reactions are predictable…and curious.

First, the predictable: in no way, shape or form will the budget finally authorized by congress look anything like this. 

Some of President Trump’s best friends in Congress sharply criticized his first budget Thursday, with defense hawks saying the proposed hike in Pentagon spending wasn’t big enough, while rural conservatives and others attacked plans to cut a wide range of federal agencies and programs.

Not enough spending, congress says.  Tell me something new.

Now, the curious.  What else can be said of the budget?  There are a lot of bad things in it.  Increased military spending and building a wall come to mind.  Whoop-de-do.  A president of the United States proposes increased spending. 

I'm shocked, shocked to find that increased spending is going on in here!

We see such a reaction from Reason’s Nick Gillespie:

The blueprint, which doesn't engage with entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security and other forms of "mandatory" spending at all, simply balances cuts to various parts of the government with increases to the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security…. Overall federal spending will still come in around $4 trillion.

A minarchist would suggest that about $500 billion could do.  Me?  Zero.

Let's call this what it is: Unacceptable.

Every budget proposed by every president is “unacceptable” – do we just keep recycling, once a year, the same editorial?

No reductions to Social Security or Medicare.  I get it.  Federal spending is unsustainable at some point with these two programs as they are.  But today isn’t that day. 

For those who hope for rationality from a government unconstrained by honest money, I will suggest: get off of that turnip truck.  There is only one thing that will change the trajectory of federal spending: loss of appetite for US Treasuries. 

On the other hand, Trump gets something right; the first president in my lifetime to get it.  There are only two ways to cut spending: actually cut spending (and not merely reduce the rate of growth) and eliminate programs.  Trump proposes just this:

Washington (CNN) — President Donald Trump unveiled his first budget blueprint on Thursday, and to offset increases in defense spending, the President is proposing $54 billion in cuts to large parts of the federal government and popular programs big and small.

Trump's budget would cut off funding entirely for several agencies, including arts, public broadcasting and development groups, and also proposes steep cuts to agencies like the State Department and Environmental Protection Agency.

Virtually every agency will see some sort of cut, with only Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs getting a boost.

Certainly, I would prefer cuts to Defense and Homeland Security while leaving these peripheral programs untouched, but it is something: significant cuts to last fiscal year’s budget for close to a dozen departments; about thirty programs eliminated.

Look, I get it.  as significant a deviation as this proposed budget is, it is all just tinkering around the edges; in the long run, irrelevant.  But it cannot be denied that Trump has proposed a budget like no other. 

At least (and at most) it will start a discussion.  A discussion that has never been held before inside the beltway.


  1. The RINOs are just jealous as he has the fortitude to get rid of ridiculous programs like the NEA and Public Broadcasting. The RINOs like Kerry, Bush, Bush, McCain... have had multiple decades to rid pocket pickers of what $10 PER PERSON and $30 per private sector tax payer? At least now I have $30 this year and for all time after not going on the giant pile of debt.

  2. Smoke and Mirrors:

    "........But wait… The savings from defunding these programs are earmarked for the Department of Defense… and Homeland Security.

    Where’s the gain? Where’s the benefit? What difference does it make whether the money is wasted by the EPA or the Pentagon? Net result = zero.

    In other words, Trump is just shifting resources from one Deep State sector to another… exchanging one group of cronies for another group… And it is not at all clear this is a good trade.

    At least the parasites at the National Endowment for the Humanities don’t get us into unwinnable wars.

    Besides, the generals should be punished, not rewarded. They haven’t won a war since WWII despite spending, in today’s money, about $30 trillion.

    And they haven’t fought a war worth fighting, either. Nor is there any war going on anywhere on the planet today that is worth a single American life or a single American dollar.

    Nor is there any nation anywhere in the world that is preparing to invade the U.S., steal our property, rape our women, and carry our children off into slavery......."

    ".....This is Washington we’re talking about… aka the Swamp. As for Donald’s plan to rob the Peters in the EPA to give to the Pauls in the Pentagon, the insiders are indifferent.

    The increases are approved. The decreases never show up. Peter and Paul go about their business as before.

    But no way is the Deep State going to stand still as its major boondoggles are defunded. And fortunately for the swamp critters, the funding system is magical​.

    No need to trouble the taxpayers… not when there’s credit available for almost nothing......"

    Trumps budget is, in other words, nothing but "smoke and mirrors. What a laugh ! :-) "Let the games begin!"

    Regards, onebornfreeatyahoo

  3. Not the last time I checked. Maybe I need to check more often?

    Hmm, am I Bill Bonner?, am I Boll Binner?, am I Bin Boller?

    One day, perhaps, I'll get back to you on these , and other, highly important questions.

    Regards, onebornfree

  4. "It is the most radical budget proposal ever offered by a president in the last seven million years… give or take."

    Lol. Wasn't expecting to laugh right there. Good one.

    From the point of view of my brilliant political mind (yawn... what?), this looks like a master salesman's ploy. It's loaded with upside for the president.

    Trump can go around bragging about how he wanted to cut stuff while making 'Merica more secure and doling out slave-money to the military demigods. He knows full well that his proposals will leave the sausage factory revamped, but his Tweets will be second-term election-race gold - if he runs again and IF the economy hasn't tanked.

    Yes, it will start discussions, which will end in a tidal wave of editorials (even from Reason and Cato?), both in print and pixel, justifying every agency and their budgets, with the minority libertarians being shouted down at every turn by the red and blue socialists. Trump now has a greater justification for spending.

    Congress will have to deal with Trump to get him to take the heat off congress: The Dems wanting cuts to their agencies reduced, and the Pubs wanting to hold on to as many gains to their military/paramilitary/prison complex as possible. Trump now has bargaining chips.

    All this while keeping the spending at least where it's at, which will please the Krugman economists of the world, who are legion. Trump now has the blessings of the apologists.