Trump's Bud­get: A Plan to Re­duce Waste or Loot and De­stroy Amer­ica?

Trillions - - In This Issue -

Don­ald Trump re­cently re­leased his pro­posed bud­get en­ti­tled "A New Foun­da­tion for Amer­i­can Great­ness - Pres­i­dent's Bud­get FY 2018".

The sum­mary of the bud­get is full of hype and false state­ments and is very Trump­ish. Once one gets past the hype, lies and mis­in­for­ma­tion, the re­al­ity of the bud­get is stag­ger­ing. But, it is not all bad and Trump should be ap­plauded for want­ing to cut gov­ern­ment waste.

The big prob­lem is that the bud­get doesn't cut the waste where it is needed most and wouldn't harm the coun­try. In­stead, it would slash fund­ing for so­cial & com­mu­nity pro­grams, ed­u­ca­tion, heath-care, arts, sci­ence and the en­vi­ron­ment and elim­i­nate sev­eral agen­cies and pro­grams and then give the sav­ings to the mil­i­tary where it could be more eas­ily stolen or wasted.

Trump seems to have mostly ig­nored the ad­vice of the re­cent Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice (GAO) re­port, "Op­por­tu­ni­ties to Re­duce Frag­men­ta­tion, Over­lap, and Du­pli­ca­tion and Achieve Other Fi­nan­cial Ben- efits", which iden­ti­fies the pro­grams that re­ally need to be cut.

His plan would also shift much of the bur­den of gov­ern­ment to state and lo­cal agen­cies but would not pro­vide the fund­ing for them to carry this bur­den and would even re­duce some crit­i­cal fund­ing to the states, which means the states and lo­cal agen­cies would have to dra­mat­i­cally raise taxes or not take on the new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Fol­low­ing are Trump's cuts to gov­ern­ment ser­vices:

In­de­pen­dent agen­cies

• Cor­po­ra­tion for Na­tional and Com­mu­nity Service — $958 mil­lion

• Cor­po­ra­tion for Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing — $454 mil­lion

• Le­gal Ser­vices Cor­po­ra­tion — $351 mil­lion

• In­sti­tute of Mu­seum and Li­brary Ser­vices — $207 mil­lion

• Neigh­bor­hood Rein­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion — $148 mil­lion

• Ap­palachian Re­gional Com­mis­sion — $119 mil­lion

• Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Arts — $119 mil­lion

• Na­tional En­dow­ment for the Hu­man­i­ties — $106 mil­lion

• US Trade and De­vel­op­ment Agency — $48 mil­lion

• African De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion — $22 mil­lion

• Delta Re­gional Au­thor­ity — $22 mil­lion

• Over­seas Pri­vate In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion — $22 mil­lion

• In­ter-amer­i­can Foun­da­tion — $17 mil­lion

• US In­sti­tute of Peace — $16 mil­lion

• De­nali Com­mis­sion — $8 mil­lion

• North­ern Bor­der Re­gional Com­mis­sion — $7 mil­lion

• Woodrow Wil­son In­ter­na­tional Cen­ter for Schol­ars — $4 mil­lion

• Chem­i­cal Safety Board — $2 mil­lion

• Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion’s Re­serve Fund — $200 mil­lion (over five years); $450 mil­lion (over 10 years)

Multi-agency

• Re­peal and re­place Oba­macare — $15 bil­lion (over five years); $250 bil­lion (over 10 years)

• Al­lo­ca­tions to the Housing Trust Fund and Cap­i­tal Mag­net Fund — $1.043 bil­lion (over five years); $2.846 bil­lion (over 10 years)

• Work­ers’ Com­pen­sa­tion (WC) Re­verse Off­set — $39 mil­lion (over five years); $164 mil­lion (over 10 years)

Agri­cul­ture

• Ru­ral wa­ter and waste­water loan and grant pro­gram — $498 mil­lion

• Mcgovern-dole In­ter­na­tional Food for Ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, which aims to re­duce food in­se­cu­rity — $201 mil­lion

• Ru­ral Busi­ness and Co­op­er­a­tive Service pro­grams — $95 mil­lion

• Ru­ral sin­gle fam­ily housing di­rect loan pro­gram — $61 mil­lion

• In­ter­est Pay­ments to Elec­tric and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Util­i­ties — $685 mil­lion (over five years); $1.377 bil­lion (over 10 years)

• Ru­ral Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram — $477 mil­lion (over 5 or 10 years)

• Elim­i­nate Har­vest Price Op­tion for Crop In­surance — $5.102 bil­lion (over five years); $11.923 bil­lion (over 10 years)

• Elim­i­nate Small Pro­grams — $1.402 bil­lion (over five years); $3.077 bil­lion (over 10 years)

Home­land Se­cu­rity

• Flood Haz­ard Map­ping and Risk Analysis Pro­gram — $190 mil­lion

• Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion Law En­force­ment Grants — $45 mil­lion

Housing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment

• Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Block Grant pro­gram — $2.994 bil­lion

• HOME In­vest­ment Partnerships Pro­gram, Choice Neigh­bor­hoods — $948 mil­lion

• Choice Neigh­bor­hoods pro­gram — $125 mil­lion

• In­dian Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Block Grant — $60 mil­lion

• Self-help Home­own­er­ship Op­por­tu­nity Pro­gram — $56M

In­te­rior

• Aban­doned Mine Land Grants — $90 mil­lion

• Her­itage Part­ner­ship Pro­gram — $19 mil­lion

• Na­tional Wildlife Refuge Fund — $13 mil­lion

• South­ern Ne­vada Pub­lic Lands Man­age­ment Act un­ob­li­gated bal­ances — $230 mil­lion (over 5 or 10 years)

• Gulf of Mex­ico En­ergy Se­cu­rity Act Re­peal — $1.685 bil­lion (over 5 years); $3.56 bil­lion (over 10 years)

• Re­peal En­hanced Geother­mal Pay­ments to Coun­ties — $17 mil­lion (over five years); $37 mil­lion over 10 years)

Jus­tice De­part­ment

• State Crim­i­nal Alien As­sis­tance Pro­gram, which re­im­burses states for costs of in­car­cer­at­ing cer­tain crim­i­nal un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants — $210 mil­lion

La­bor

• Se­nior Com­mu­nity Service Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram, which aims to tran­si­tion low-in­come, un­em­ployed se­niors to un­sub­si­dized jobs — $434 mil­lion

• Mi­grant and Sea­sonal Farm­worker Train­ing — $82 mil­lion

• Oc­cu­pa­tional Safety and Health Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Su­san Har­wood train­ing grants — $11 mil­lion

NASA

• Five Earth Sci­ence Mis­sions — $191 mil­lion

• Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion — $78 mil­lion

State De­part­ment, USAID, Trea­sury In­ter­na­tional Pro­grams

• De­vel­op­ment As­sis­tance ac­count — $2.509 bil­lion • P.L. 480 Ti­tle II Food Aid — $1.713 bil­lion

• Global Climate Change Ini­tia­tive and Green Climate Fund — $1.59 bil­lion

• Ear­marked ap­pro­pri­a­tions for non­prof­its: The Asia Foun­da­tion and East-west Cen­ter — $34 mil­lion

Trans­porta­tion

• Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ments, TIGER pro­gram, which awards fund­ing for projects — $499 mil­lion

Trea­sury

• Global Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity Pro­gram — $43 mil­lion

• New grants to Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions — $210 mil­lion

For decades, politi­cians and their spon­sors have been loot­ing the United States to en­rich them­selves. When there was no more money to steal they start­ing bor­row­ing it on be­half of fu­ture tax­pay­ers. When no one would loan the money, they just printed it and called it "quan­ti­ta­tive eas­ing".

Amer­ica's na­tional debt is now at $20 tril­lion and is out of control and poses a se­ri­ous threat to the coun­try. Trump is right that gov­ern­ment spend­ing must be cur­tailed and that means re­duc­ing the size of gov­ern­ment, cut­ting pro­grams that are not es­sen­tial and spend­ing money where it will cre­ate pros­per­ity. But it also means com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion and de­tach­ing the par­a­sites re­spon­si­ble for the cri­sis, which he makes no at­tempt to do and won't even rec­og­nize as an is­sue.

Trump's bud­get would cer­tainly cut some things that need to be cut and it would raise fees on some ser­vices so that pro­grams be­come self-fund­ing or a profit cen­ter. How­ever, it would not ac­tu­ally pro­vide ad­di­tional fund­ing to in­fra­struc­ture as promised and would ac­tu­ally cut a lot of crit­i­cal fund­ing. It would also pri­va­tize some pub­lic as­sets.

Cut­ting fund­ing to ed­u­ca­tion, sci­ence and the en­vi­ron­ment is stupid and can only cause deep and long-last­ing harm to the na­tion.

In­stead of re­duc­ing the root cause of the waste, the bud­get would do the op­po­site. It would make it eas­ier to loot what is left by shift­ing fund­ing to the mil­i­tary where it is much eas­ier for money to go miss­ing. Re­mem­ber, the Pen­tagon al­ready re­fuses to ac­count for about $10 tril­lion and there is no rea­son to be­lieve that ad­di­tional fund­ing won't be wasted or stolen. Mil­i­tary se­crecy greatly hin­ders es­sen­tial pub­lic over­sight.

Trump wants to re­shape Amer­ica to fit his vi­sion of a pros­per­ous and strong na­tion but lacks the in­tel­li­gence and knowl­edge of how to get there and holds many false be­liefs based on an extreme right-wing ide­ol­ogy that is grossly out of touch with re­al­ity. He has sur­rounded him­self with peo­ple like him, not pro­fes­sional, in­tel­li­gent ex­perts who could pro­vide sound ad­vice.

Trump's bud­get was writ­ten not by thought­ful ex­perts but by his posse of extreme right-wingers who see Amer­ica as their per­sonal source of greater wealth and power and see the Amer­i­can peo­ple as their en­e­mies or rubes to be conned. The one thing they all have in com­mon is that they don't care about the Amer­i­can peo­ple and many of them ac­tu­ally de­spise us.

A good ex­am­ple of the Trump phi­los­o­phy is state­ment made re­cently by his Sec­re­tary of Housing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment (HUD), Ben Car­son,

"I think poverty to a large ex­tent is also a state of mind. You take some­body that has the right mind­set, you can take ev­ery­thing from them and put them on the street and I guar­an­tee in a lit­tle while they'll be right back up there. And you take some­body with the wrong mind­set, you can give them ev­ery­thing in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bot­tom."

While this may have been par­tially true once upon a time, it has not been true for most Amer­i­cans for the last 20 years.

Car­son is a po­lit­i­cal climber who once tried to run for Pres­i­dent and is the whitest black man in Amer­ica. In March, he likened aspir­ing im­mi­grants to those "who came here in the bot­tom of slave ships."

With Car­son's help, Trump will slash $6 bil­lion from HUD'S bud­get, at a time when an in­creas­ing num­ber of work­ing Amer­i­cans can't af­ford a place to live without some fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

The re­al­ity is that poverty is now in­escapable for many hard-work­ing and in­tel­li­gent Amer­i­cans. In most parts of the coun­try it is sim­ply im­pos­si­ble for some­one to cover the cost of a de­cent liv­ing with the wages that are paid for most jobs. More than 25% of kids live in poverty.

If im­ple­mented, Trumps bud­get would throw vast num­bers of Amer­i­cans out of de­cent pay­ing jobs and many would have to com­pete for the low­est pay­ing jobs, which there are al­ready not enough of.

For­tu­nately, Trump's bud­get is merely what he pro­poses. It still has to be passed by Congress and that's un­likely to hap­pen in its cur­rent form. All of those rep­re­sen­ta­tives have their own spon­sors who ben­e­fit from gov­ern­ment spend­ing. There might even be one or two in Congress who will think about the needs of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.

Un­for­tu­nately, Trump's bud­get is just one way in which he is dis­man­tling what was once great about Amer­ica and turn­ing the coun­try into an im­pov­er­ished cor­po­rate po­lice-state.

Like a pack of wolves, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is de­vour­ing the coun­try from within and many Amer­i­cans are ea­gerly sup­port­ing their own demise.

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