Is there anything to like about President Trump’s budget he officially proposed Monday? Yes. That it will likely be ignored.
Most of Trump’s budget suggestions are at once foolhardy, dangerous and vindictive. We find the president’s 34 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency all three, the same as his desire to cut 26 percent from the State Department. Adding $716 million to a defense budget already bloated with weapons even the generals don’t want (or need) seems profligate; but spending part of that on new “low-yield nuclear” weapons actually brings the world closer to oblivion.
Others proposal are either inadequate or indefensible. Trump brags about a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure, but like a developer who has six times declared bankruptcy, he wants someone else to put up the real cash – $1.3 trillion would come from local governments and private parties. The opioid crisis, which kills 175 Americans each and every day, merited a $17 billion response from Trump, mainly for enhanced enforcement (a strategy that worked so well in the war on drugs). That’s about $1 billion less than Trump wants to spend on his ego wall. Oh, and after promising senior citizens he wouldn’t cut Medicare during his campaign, his budget proposals mask some $550 billion in Medicare cuts. Some excerpts from reactions across the country:
Charlotte (N.C.) Observer – The $4.4 trillion budget Donald Trump proposed is like any budget ... a wish list that provides signals to the Republican base and suggestions to the Republican Congress about the president’s priorities. Congress, of course, has final say over spending. So it’s wise for Americans not to get too fretful about proposals that will generate more heat than they deserve. ... It dangles all the tasty items conservatives like without the austerity they’ve claimed as one of their guiding principles. The budget runs annual deficits, including $984 billion next year alone, that could add $7 trillion to the debt over the next decade.
Bloomberg View – Ignore the flim-flam, and President Trump is offering some good ideas with his infrastructure proposal. The plan envisions spending $200 billion to stimulate investment by states and businesses, with a goal of restoring roads, bridges and so on. It also aims to simplify regulation. With customary modesty, the White House calls it “the most comprehensive infrastructure bill in our Nation’s history.” ... With deficits rising and elections looming, the odds of success are long. But credit where it’s due: On a problem Congress has avoided for too long, this plan offers a decent start.
New York Times – During his campaign, Donald Trump told the “forgotten men and women of our country” that he was a different kind of Republican; he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families. Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit. Trump’s 2019 budget, combined with the tax cuts Republicans passed last year, would amount to one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations. It would also charge trillions of dollars in new debt to the account of future Americans.
The Los Angeles Times – President Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan isn’t a plan. It’s fantasy. The outline the administration put forth is essentially this: The federal government will offer a diminished amount of money – $200 billion over 10 years – for building or repairing roads, bridges, airports, seaports, energy projects and water systems and somehow, magically, $1.5 trillion to $1.8 trillion in infrastructure spending will materialize. His plan is all gleam, no grit.