Trump's budget is bold, brave, and ultimately pointless
There is quite a lot to like about President Trump's first budget. Let me give a few examples:
1) Cutting $200 million from women, infants, and children (WIC) nutrition programs. I would cut the WIC program to zero until men, the unborn, and the grownups (MUGs) get identical financing. Last time I checked, they need to eat, too.
2) Cuts $200 million from the "International Food for Education" program. Good! You can't teach kids anything with a banana and a pomegranate.
3) Cuts $3.7 billion for teacher training. Aren't teachers supposed to be trained somewhere else, like in a school for teachers?
4) Cuts $900 million from the Office of Science. I would cut it all until they hand over a list of their latest inventions, and they had better include some nifty consumer electronics.
5) Cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health. I would cut it all unless and until the NIH produce a list of all the life-saving drugs they have created. (None.)
6) Eliminates funding for 49 "historic sites." I would go farther and legislate a process of de-historizing these sites and returning them to the private sector, so instead of having a past, they have a future.
7) Eliminating funding for resources to help seniors and youths find jobs. If old people and teenagers can't figure out how to write a résumé and type in "jobs" in Google, they probably don't have employable skills.
8) Eliminate global warming programs. Good. But keep some money in reserve for global cooling, just in case.
9) Reduce spending on U.N. peacekeeping. I think every time we pay the U.N. $100, an African lady gets raped. We should eliminate all funding to U.N. peacekeeping forces unless U.N. peacekeepers are accompanied by an equal number of U.N. chastitykeepers.
10) Eliminate long-distance Amtrak subsidies. Those who want to take a train from Boston to Seattle can switch to horse caravans or sailing ships.
11) Big cuts to the EPA. Their phone lines should also be cut, and on a weekend, all the entrances to their offices should be welded shut. If they complain, tell them it is because an endangered cockroach is inhabiting their offices and can't be disturbed.
12) Eliminates funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, PBS, public radio. They already have tons of commercials in the form of "sponsors" and can survive on their own. I would actually redirect their subsidy money to create radio jamming to operate on their frequencies. They've had it so easy for so long that I think they need an added challenge.
Trump's budget is unprecedented. George W. Bush did not propose cutting a single agency. George H.W. Bush did not, either. You have to go all the way back to Ronald Reagan to find someone who proposed eliminating government agencies.
So for these bold moves, Trump should be praised.
But even if Congress approved all these cuts, they would have virtually no effect on the deficit. These cuts would cut about 76 billion dollars in spending. With Trump's planned increase of 54 billion dollars for the military, and a trillion dollars for "infrastructure," these cuts would be more than canceled out.
The big problem is that 60% of the budget, which is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, is left untouched. You cannot reduce the deficit, much less the debt, without reducing these programs. But President Trump has explicitly said he does not want to touch them.
The federal deficit for 2016 was 587 billion dollars.
The national debt is nearly 20 trillion dollars.
Unfunded obligations, future promises to pay things like Social Security and Medicare, are over 200 trillion dollars.
Trump has absolutely no plan to deal with this. If he keeps his promise not to touch Social Security or Medicare, there is no way he can deal with this. The country cannot grow its way out of a 200-trillion-dollar debt. Eventually, people will stop buying United States debt, and when that happens, the economy will collapse.
Until then, in the words of Mark Levin, all the government is doing is "reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic."
For proposing to eliminate these programs, President Trump should be lauded. But for failing to have a plan to deal with the deficit, he should be chided. If he were going to do something about this, the time would be now, when he has the most political capital, with his first budget. It will only get harder and harder to deal with over time, which suggests he probably won't address the deficit at all. Indeed, on the campaign trail, his themes were border security, repealing Obamacare, and protectionism. He never talked about the debt at all.
How sad for us.
Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.