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President Trump’s first budget.

March 17, 2017

Did you know that a budget outline submitted by a president, any president, is not a law?

You did?  Good for you!

Apparently liberals don’t know that, to listen to all the hysterical outrage over President Trump’s budget outline.

“Seniors to starve as Trump eliminates Meals on Wheels” blare the overwrought headlines, and of course there are others in the same vein, such as the one that to stop the expansion of Medicaid will kill people.  Note that this is not a rollback to pre-Obama levels, it simply stops the unrestrained growth of Medicaid and addresses some of the more egregious abuses.

Take a chill pill, folks. While the President’s budget preferences obviously carry a lot of weight, they are not set in stone. In actual fact they are often adjusted and even outright ignored in every administration.

What you should not count on is that no programs will be cut.  It’s highly likely that at some point in the next four years, everyone’s favorite ox will be gored.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to find candidates for cuts. One such example is the General Accounting Office (GAO) report of duplicate and wasteful programs.  One such report for 2011 lists “hundreds” of duplicative programs under a number of Federal agencies.  The list was reviewed and expanded in 2014 under the title “2014 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits.”

This isn’t some Republican propaganda piece. The office of the GAO was created in 1921 and as much as any Federal bureaucracy ever can be, it is supposed to be nonpartisan.

You see, it isn’t that the government doesn’t know it wastes money. It knows, but it never does anything about it.

Everyone is for austerity, until they have to give up something.

The Nancy Pelosi-Chuck Schumer-Elizabeth Warren coalition leading the many-headed Hydra that is the mindless opposition, will continue to howl like a stepped-on cat for the next four years.

It’s extremely doubtful that this very first Trump budget will make it through the horse-trading process unscathed. That isn’t the way of the world, particularly in the rarefied atmosphere that engulfs Washington D.C.

Still, if the administration just took the list of boondoggled funding and the GAO’s list and crafted  a budget around only those items every year,  the budget deficit would fall like a rock.

BTW, if you might actually want to read the 62-page document, which thankfully is written in plain English, you can find a link to it here. Pay particular attention to why funding for a program is discontinued or lowered.

For instance the wording that “eliminates Meals on Wheels” touches one funding program,  the Community Services Block Grant, which is presented as being duplicative of several other similar funding streams.

It is certainly permissible to question the assumptions made in this first budget. For instance, in the CSBG example, is it true that other emergency food assistance programs could be accessed by Meals on Wheels? What percentage of its funding does come from the Feds?

Incidentally, the national cover organization states that just 3% of its funding is from Federal funding. For a more in-depth look at the program’s scope and funding, check out this article at reason.com.

The point is, don’t take anything you read about this budget outline as truth until you do your own research. This budget will be demagogued at every turn, but at least it is clear in its intent and represents many of the goals that voters wanted met by this President.

Do yourselves a favor. Click on the link above and READ the thing. Then use the brain you were born with and make up your own mind.

From → op-ed

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