Even some of Trump’s defenders have dismissed our bloated budget as being something that was less urgent in his scope of priorities.
It’s entirely correct to say that DC has refused to put the brakes in any serious way on our unsustainable spending. But we’d be wrong to lay that at Trump’s feet, says David Horowitz.
It’s become a perennial joke. Every year in February, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduces an ambitious budget proposal to slash spending and abolish wasteful programs. Then, by the end of the year, not only is every principle of that proposal jettisoned in the actual budget signed by the president, but the new budget increases spending for every program that he promised to cut.
…The typical response I’ve heard from some colleagues is, “Well, Trump was never going to be a limited government president.” However, that is simply not true, as we see from his willingness to sign on to conservative budgets every year, more conservative than any president in modern history. Sure, the president was never going to make changes to Social Security and Medicare, but everything else – from Medicaid and welfare to foreign aid and domestic non-defense discretionary spending – was all fair game.
Unfortunately, unfocused conservatives have allowed Democrats to work with the ineffective GOP leaders in Congress to increase spending to record levels that blow out the shocking levels of the Obama era. Annual spending by the Department of Education, for example, is now up to $83 billion, 24 percent higher (in non-inflation-adjusted dollars) than during Obama’s spendathon in 2009. With a booming job market and record revenue, spending and deficits are blowing out the levels accrued during the deepest recession in generations.
But again, today’s budget release demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be this way. Trump will sign a bad budget if the swamp consensus coalesces around it. But at the same time, if conservatives work to back the non-swamp elements of the administration pushing for spending cuts the president is clearly OK with, he would sign a good budget as well.
In light of the recent increase in spending on foreign aid, the budget proposal cuts 21 percent from the State Department and international assistance programs. The EPA would be cut by 27 percent and energy subsidies by 29 percent. Overall, the budget envisions $2.4 trillion in 10-year cuts to discretionary spending and war spending from the baseline forecast and another $2 trillion in reductions from “mandatory spending” programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid.
What is the solution?
Politicians only make the hard choices that they are compelled to make. If they don’t hear from their constituents that this is a priority; if they aren’t given updates of the debt clock and reminded that every dollar spent by them commits the labor of our children and grandchildren to carry that cost; if they don’t get regular reminders from us that a lean government has fewer ways to become corrupt and tyrannical over the citizens it supposedly serves, they will have little incentive to fight against the inertia and interests of those whose palms are greased, and whose fiefdoms are created by this same bloated spending.
Of course these minor power centers won’t go down without a fight.
Which is why they need to go down in the first place.