Trump’s “taxpayer first” budget

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President Trump has released his detailed budget proposal for 2018, an ambitious document that will encourage his supporters and enrage many of his critics.

His team was reportedly told to examine each line item and ask the question, “Would taxpayers want their money spent on this?”  The budget cuts many social welfare benefits and what was described as “feel good programs that don’t work.”

But it will save $3.6 trillion over ten years, at which time (2027) the federal budget will be balanced.  This, while still increasing defense spending and protecting Social Security.

Does a budget like this, described as a “taxpayer first” budget,  have a chance? [Read more…]

Where your taxes go

shakedown-1340048_640Tomorrow taxes are due.  So it’s fitting to contemplate where your tax money goes.

To make it easier to comprehend, the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget looked at a representative $100 paid in taxes.  Of that, 8 cents goes to national parks, $15 goes for Medicare, $21 goes for defense, $50 goes for Social Security and health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, etc., etc.

One observer said that the data supports the view that the United States is “a giant insurance company with an army.”  See details after the jump.

 

 
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Trump’s budget

6629080867_016b010de5_zPresident Trump released his proposed budget.  It boosts defense spending, Veterans’ benefits, school choice, and homeland security.  But it dramatically slashes the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

It cuts most agency’s appropriations and eliminates some of them completely.  See the list of agencies and programs that Trump’s budget would eliminate entirely.

Among the entities that would be zeroed out are the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

You can read the entire budget proposal here.

Congress, including its Republican members, are criticizing the “draconian” cuts.

Those Republicans have been talking for years about the need to cut the budget and to pare back all of the things our government has become involved with, at great expense.  And yet this is the first Republican budget I can recall that actually made those changes.

Let me comment on one sacred cow that is being sacrificed:  the National Endowment for the Arts.  Some are saying, if the NEA ceases to exist, the arts will be doomed!  But the arts thrived before the NBA got started under the Johnson administration.  In fact, the arts were surely more interesting and even more experimental and controversial back then–think of surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and you name the movement–when artists were competing for audiences rather than federal grants. [Read more…]

Budget deal gives White House everything it wanted

The House of Representatives, which controls the nation’s purse strings, is dominated by Republicans.  But they just agreed to a budget deal that includes $680 billion in new spending and special-interest tax cuts.  The White House is claiming total victory.  The deal gives the Obama administration what it wanted on Obamacare, immigration, and the environment.  Planned Parenthood will keep its government funding.  Pretty much the only thing Republicans got in return was an end to the ban on oil exports.  Rush Limbaugh is calling for the Republican Party to be disbanded. See this for details.

UPDATE:  The House adopted the budget.

UPDATE:  So has the Senate, and the President has signed it.  Look, this budget does some good things, like give more money to the military, including giving troops a raise.  But it’s a return to the old deficit spending, reversing the budget reforms (for example, the agreement to balance new spending by making cuts elsewhere) of a few years ago.

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Where your tax dollars go

The Heritage Foundation has an interesting report entitled  The Breakdown of Where Your Tax Dollars Go.  After the jump, an informative graphic. [Read more…]

Republicans are now playing nice on the budget

Republicans in Congress tried to cut the deficit by letting the government shut down, being willing to dive over the fiscal cliff, and sequestering expenditures, but those measures didn’t go over very well politically.  So now Congressional Republicans are going along with the Democrats, and they are close to an agreement on a budget deal.   Is that good news or bad news? [Read more…]