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A Breakdown of Trump's Budget Proposal (Which Has No Chance of Passing)
President Trump on Thursday sent his budget proposal to Congress that aims to spend a lot of money on the military and building a border wall, while making the steepest cuts to domestic programs since Ronald Reagan was in office, and which pretty much everyone says has no chance of passing in its current form.
And while there will be talk about the move toward “austerity” that Trump is forcing the government to make, it’s important to keep in mind that this proposal does nothing to trim the deficit that Republicans seemed so intent on trimming during Obama’s eight years in the White House.
Per the New York Times:
But he offered no plans to reduce the deficit in this proposal, simply offsetting $54 billion in increased military spending with $54 billion in domestic and international cuts.
As a result, the nation next year will continue to spend more than it takes in through taxes and therefore will still add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt.
Mr. Trump made no mention of that in his budget message, but his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, a longtime deficit hawk, did, foreshadowing the tension that will eventually challenge this president as his term progresses. “Our $20 trillion national debt is a crisis, not just for the nation, but for every citizen,” Mr. Mulvaney wrote.
Well, as long as you recognize that it’s a crisis then that’s good enough, we guess.
Here are some of the highlights from the proposal that has everyone talking.
Are you not entertained?
The National Endowment for the Arts has long been a bugaboo of conservatives, many of whom see it as a program that has the audacity to fund controversial artists who are capable of corrupting the vulnerable minds of young people. In Trump’s budget, the program will be eliminated entirely, as will the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation.
It’s getting hot in here
Another bugaboo for many conservatives has been the claim made by scientists that the earth’s climate is changing, getting warmer and that we are all to blame for it. Also: Science might be a godless discipline practiced by heathens. So with that in mind, Trump’s proposal seeks to drastically slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by $2.6 billion, mostly through eliminating 3,200 positions, as the New York Times reports. However, as New York magazine notes, there might actually be a growing fear among the GOP about this whole climate change business, as 17 House Republicans “testified to this truth, by signing onto a resolution affirming the reality of climate change and the dangers that it presents. The statement emphasizes the legislators’ commitment to economically viable, conservative solutions to the problem at hand. But, unlike the president, the lawmakers recognize that ignoring the problem is not a solution.”
Don’t bring box-cutters to a gun fight
A huge part of President Trump’s “America First” campaign is to spend lavishly on the country’s military. Mission accomplished: The president’s proposal calls for spending $54 billion on the military, which is a 10 percent increase that would “require a repeal of spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.” The budget proposal also calls for an increased spending on the Department of Homeland Security by $2.8 billion, which will largely be used to pay for the president’s big and beautiful border wall (but fear not, Mexico will end up paying for it!).
‘Dead on arrival’
The problem for Trump is that he must answer to Republicans on the Hill (and sometimes Democrats!), who must answer to constituents whenever they seek re-election. And so Trump’s budget proposal has been met with a very cold shoulder from members of his own party.
Per New York:
But the proposal is short on details, and several lawmakers have dismissed it as unrealistic and contradictory. Republican senator Lindsey Graham has called the cuts to the State Department “dead on arrival,” and Democratic senator Patrick Leahy said the White House is only proposing the massive spending cuts because they know they won’t make it through Congress. “They know they’d be a disaster for their own party if they did. It makes for a great talking point. It actually fits on a tweet,” he said.
“The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” Senator Marco Rubio said, probably while rolling his eyes. “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.”
Photo: Gage Skidmore