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…]

Trump’s “America first” budget

Pentagon_satellite_imagePresident Trump will submit a budget that he says will put “America first.”  Defense spending will jump 10%, a $54 billion increase.  That money will come from what we used to spend for foreign aid and from big cut-backs to most other federal agencies.

Law enforcement and Veterans’ benefits will also get more money.  Trump vowed that Social Security and Medicare will not be cut.

Details about the cuts to other agencies and services will be announced later.  Those may prove quite dramatic.  Look for some agencies, such as the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, to get eliminated altogether.

Also coming later will be the president’s tax plan.  He has promised a big tax cut, which will put further pressure on the need to cut spending.

The military has been somewhat neglected financially during the Obama years, but if we are going to put America first, cut back on foreign entanglements, and insist that other countries defend themselves instead of expecting America do it, do we really need to spend so much more on our military?  Or does this military increase signal that America will continue to project its power on the world scene?  Or does it mean that we are building a defensive wall, so to speak, around our country so that nobody dare attack us?

UPDATE:  Tonight President Trump addresses a joint session of Congress at 9:00 p.m. ET.  Democrats are planning to pack the gallery with immigrants, Muslims, and Meryl Streep.  Expect lots of booing and jeering, trying to make the President lose his cool.  But he will probably be announcing his Congressional agenda, so this will be important.   I’ll put up a post tonight if you want to comment on the address as it unfolds–I may or may not take part in that–or discuss it afterwards.
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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…]

“Mission Accomplished” on the deficit

President Obama has declared victory in the economic sphere, pointing to decreased budget deficits and slowed growth in the cost of health care.  We may now, he said, dispense with “mindless austerity” when it comes to government spending.  But, as Fred Hiatt points out, such optimism is fine “if your horizon is Jan. 20, 2017.”  However, if you look beyond that, we are in deep trouble. [Read more…]

Destroying our own military equipment

My brother-in-law (Seabees, retired) told me that when we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are going to be leaving behind or destroying much of the military equipment our troops had been using, since it is too expensive to bring back and there won’t be that much use for it anymore.

Well, now it’s happening.  We are putting billions of dollars worth of equipment–including trucks and armored vehicles–into giant metal shredders.  Other stuff we are selling to the Afghanis at pennies on the dollar or giving it away free to foreign governments willing to haul it away. [Read more…]

What happened to Detroit

Detroit has filed for bankruptcy.  Charles Krauthammer explains why, going on to show why the “reactionary liberalism” that keeps adding entitlements without being able to pay for them cannot work for long, whether for a city or for a country. [Read more…]