Trump’s Budget: Throwing Coins Down a Well

BY W.S.G.

Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, at a briefing on President Trump’s budget proposal. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Taxation sucks. Is it a necessary evil? You decide. Should citizens happily accept that the two assured parts of life are death and taxes? Of course not. A vote for the Grand Old Party should be the clear choice for those that hate taxation, right? Yet the Republican majority has passed the budget deal that abandons their fiscally responsible narrative. When will Republicans acknowledge that it’s time to bring the axe down on government spending? We can’t cut taxes and keep government spending consistent. The tax cut will allow the economy to grow – despite currently being under a market correction – and increase government revenue, but it’s time to slash the budget. Where is the party of Calvin Coolidge?

The government should be held accountable for how they spend our money. The least the government can do is to spend the money where it most helps their constituents. Military spending is a must. It’s the number one priority of government and an actual constitutional power of our federal government. However, this spending bill increased military spending by $165 billion. To put that number into perspective, that’s one dollar a second for 5,200 years). But is this necessary? This is the same Pentagon that “misplaced 100 million dollars or more” and is too big to audit. Once again, the solution to any government problem is to simply throw more money at the problem. Where is the reform that this government so desperately needs?

There is a different possible direction: a plan where retirement benefits are given at an older age, reflecting the higher life expectancy since the programs started. Consider, for example, Social Security. The program was originally started to give benefits after the average life expectancy, meaning many never collected the benefits. Increasing the age for Medicare by only two years will reduce deficit by over $100 billion and similar savings could occur with comparable actions in other entitlement programs. Another solution would be reducing the amount of foreign aid, where we no longer give funds to countries like candy to kids on Halloween. Former GOP congressman Ron Paul aptly described foreign aid as “taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries.” Roughly 1.3 percent of the budget is spent on foreign aid while we neglect so many domestic programs, such as our infrastructure. Ideally, there should be a plan in which as many aspects of government that can be privatized are privatized, such as USPS and Amtrak.  

For the first time in a long time, we finally have a multiple-year budget passed. No more kicking the can down the road, right? This bill is tantamount to shooting the can out of a cannon. A legislature with the average age of 57 loves to burden the next generation with national debt, not to mention the generations that will follow. We have a national debt of over $20 trillion dollarsOnce again, to put in that number into perspective, that is a dollar a second for 634,200 years which amounts to about $63,000 per citizen. We paid $255 billion dollars on interest alone, and Medicare spending is set to double by 2047.

While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently released its own budget plan that hopes to dramatically slow the increase of the national debt. However, it relies heavily on economic success and still leaves the country with about $24 trillion dollars in debt by 2028. The plan takes the initiative that no one previously has had the courage to take, and the administration is experiencing the great resistance that comes with responsibly spending American citizens’ money. But it’s time to not simply slow the growth of our debt. It’s time to stop adding to it and there are many great ideas out there.  Mr. President, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Ryan, I have a pair of scissors you can borrow. Let’s start cutting now before it’s too late.

 

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