Trump's Budget: A Plan to Reduce Waste or Loot and Destroy America?
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:
• 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)
• 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)
• 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)
• 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
• 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)
• State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which reimburses states for costs of incarcerating certain criminal undocumented immigrants — $210 million
• 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
• 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
• National Infrastructure Investments, TIGER program, which awards funding for projects — $499 million
• 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.