You’re Going to Hell if You Support Cutting Meals on Wheels Funding

The political left wants us all to know that Christians have a duty to take care of the poor. Consequently, if you do not oppose President Trump’s budget plan to cut funding for Meals on Wheels, you are going to hell. Leave it to liberals to tie your salvation to support of a government program. You must both bake the cake and fund the welfare program, bigot.

The argument is absurd. The Bible does tell Christians they must aid the widows, orphans, poor, and refugees. But the Bible says nothing about funding a government program to do so. It is the responsibility of the individual and church to do so. As the New York Times has noted, conservatives take that obligation seriously and are more charitable than the left.

[H]ouseholds headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

When liberals say the charitable giving data are premised on myths, what they claim is that Christians are giving to churches, which are not necessarily helping the poor. That is the premise of their rebuttal.

But the truth is that many church ministries are far more effective and efficient with charitable dollars than the government is with tax dollars in helping the poor. The Southern Baptists are usually the first into disaster areas providing relief. After Katrina, the Southern Baptists beat Walmart, the Red Cross and FEMA into southern Mississippi and Louisiana.

I support cutting the funding of Meals on Wheels. I think it should be each individual’s obligation to help their family and those in need in their community. The fall back should be churches, local civic organizations, and the local government. Administering a one size fits all federal government program actually breaks down communities and shrivels up the capacity of local charitable organizations, particular of the religious variety. Liberals clear their conscience by making everyone fork over tax dollars and then absolving themselves of their personal responsibility. Meanwhile, conservatives still contribute to churches and charities to help the poor.

I firmly believe assistance to the poor would be more effective if left to local communities and local charities instead of through a government program. If liberals object, they can make a tax deductible contribution to Meals on Wheels. Conservatives already are. But liberals would rather claim Donald Trump’s budget is against Christianity than actually get their hands dirty or their wallets lighter by helping the poor themselves.

Again quoting from the New York Times:

Conservatives also appear to be more generous than liberals in non-financial ways. People in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and conservatives give blood more often.

Stop telling me that support for government spending cuts is un-Christian or that it means I hate the poor. What it really means is that you would rather abdicate personal responsibility to the government rather that put your own money into the problem. I, like many more conservatives than liberals, both pay my taxes and donate to charities to help the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the refugees.

OMB Director: Trump Budget Rebuilds Military, Cuts Waste

A big concern for many conservatives has been President Trump’s promises of increased spending in many areas. Trump’s promises of more money for the military and infrastructure have many worried that the increased spending will explode the deficit. However, the director of the Office of Management and Budget pointed out in a new budget blueprint that Trump’s spending increases will be offset by cuts in other areas.

In the Washington Free Beacon, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said, “This is the ‘America First’ budget. In fact, we wrote it using the president’s own words—we went through his speeches, articles that have been written about his policies, we talked to him, and we wanted to know what his policies were, and we turned those policies into numbers.”

A big winner in the first Trump budget is defense, which is slated for a $54 billion increase split between the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Defense Department budget would be increased by nine percent and Homeland Security by seven percent.

“We’ve worked very closely with the Defense Department to make sure, a couple of things, that this funds their needs but does so in a responsible fashion in terms of what they can actually spend this year,” Mulvaney said. “The Defense Department has told us this is the amount of money they need and can spend effectively this year. We are not throwing money after a problem and claiming that we have fixed it.”

The budget also allocates $4.1 billion over two years for Mr. Trump’s border wall. The figures for the first two years include tests to determine the efficiency and safety of different types of barriers. Mulvaney noted that a 10-year cost projection would accompany the full budget when it is released in May.

Mulvaney pointed out that these spending increases would be offset by cuts in other parts of the budget. “You will see reductions exactly where you would expect it from a president who just ran on an ‘America First’ campaign,” Mulvaney said. “You’ll see reductions in many agencies as he tries to shrink the role of government, drive efficiencies, go after waste, duplicative programs, those types of things.”

“The president ran saying he would spend less money overseas and more money back home,” Mulvaney said. “So when you go to implement that policy you go to things like foreign aid, and those get reduced. If those had been in the Department of Education you’d see a dramatic decrease in education.”

In fact, the Department of Education’s budget was cut overall, but charter school funding and school choice programs saw an increase. Some of the other notable items in the budget blueprint include:

  • Cuts Homeland Security grants to local and state agencies
  • Raises TSA security fees for airline passengers
  • Eliminates funding for 49 National Historic Sites
  • Cuts funding to reimburse state and local governments for detaining illegal immigrants
  • Increases funding and lawyers for illegal immigrant removal
  • Eliminates climate change prevention programs
  • Reduces funding for UN peacekeeping
  • Privatizes the air traffic control system
  • Eliminates funding for many transportation projects
  • Cuts NASA budget by one percent

According to the Washington Post, the big losers in the new budget are the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, which lose almost a third of their budgets. The Department of Agriculture and the Labor Department also received cuts greater than 20 percent. Other departments on the chopping block with cuts of more than 10 percent included Health and Human Services, Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Interior.

The full budget will be released in May and will include more detail on the cuts and a 10-year projection for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. Entitlement and safety net programs make up more than half of the federal budget according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The full budget is subject to approval and amendment by Congress.

Details of Trump Budget Cuts – and Increases

The blueprint of the upcoming federal budget is out and change is in the wind. The first Trump budget proposes big increases in defense spending and is offset by cuts elsewhere. The Washington Post has an excellent graphic that explains what the proposed changes are on a department-by-department basis. Read it here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-presidential-budget-2018-proposal/

 

 

President Trump’s Conservative Budget

President Trump has released his budget. It would spend $1.1 trillion in 2018 and increase military spending by $54 billion. To offset that spending and to bring down the cost and size of government, President Trump is seeking impressive cuts in other areas.

The President would eliminate federal spending for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. Both are worth doing. Already the left is trotting out Big Bird hoping we all forget Big Bird now belongs to HBO. We do not need the CPB or NPR to be government funded.

The State Department, EPA, HUD, and other executive departments would also see major cuts. While I disagree with the dramatic cuts to foreign aid, which amounts already to less than 1% of the federal budget, the President is keeping his promises in the budget.

Over the last eight years under President Obama, the national debt has exploded. President Obama added more to the national debt than any other President and almost as much as all other Presidents combined. During that time, Democrats claimed the debt and deficit no longer mattered. They will now, no doubt, claim it does matter.

In fact, the national debt has always mattered and President Trump has surrounded himself with a team that understands that and is committed to fiscal discipline. The budget goes a long way toward reducing the size and scope of the federal government and curbing the excesses of an increasingly out of control government bureaucracy. It is a very conservative budget.

Naturally, though the left has gone immediately to hysterics and hyperbole, the real challenges are coming from Republicans who are pronouncing his budget dead on arrival. They oppose his cuts in spending at the Department of States, EPA, and elsewhere. They should, instead, support them.

The 2016 election showed Americans are tired of business as usual in Washington. The objections from Republicans to this budget are objections about disrupting the status quo, which is the very thing voters want. President Trump’s budget shakes up the status quo and sets us in the direction of fiscal discipline.

——

Axios has a list of 18 federal agencies the President would like to scrap. Doing that alone would save over $3 billion.

Trump’s Budget A ‘Historic Contraction’ Of Washington Bureaucracy

For the first time in the past six decades, Washington D.C. is preparing for a deep round of federal workforce cuts, in what the Washington Post called a “historic contraction.”

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

President Trump aims to peel back regulation in great sheaths, executing Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state” while building up the military and homeland security.

Erick wrote just before the inauguration, the most honest benchmark for measuring Trump’s success is property values inside the Washington beltway.

If that area’s real estate market collapses and the area heads into recession, we will know that Donald Trump is successful. As Washington’s power has grown, that region has grown with it. As Washington lets go of power and the states rebound in strength and clout, that area should correspondingly grow weaker.

We’re talking mass layoffs.

According to an economic analysis by Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, the reductions outlined so far by Trump’s advisers would reduce employment in the region by 1.8 percent and personal income by 3.5 percent, and lower home prices by 1.9 percent.

While defense spending and employment decreased through the Clinton years, it bounced back slightly during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Meanwhile, the rest of the federal workforce–especially regulators in Washington, D.C., continued to grow.

Time Magazine‘s March 20th issue cover screamed “Trump’s War on Washington,” focusing mostly on the “deep state,” tweets and conspiracies. But the real war, and the real political power, is in the purse and executive discretion.

He has embraced a budget that would slash nondefense government-agency spending by $54 billion. He has delayed, suspended or reversed 90 regulations imposing government controls on everything from Wall Street to telecoms to hunters, according to an analysis by the New York Times. He has frozen federal hiring, and his allies on Capitol Hill have proposed reducing federal employees’ pensions. He says many of the nearly 2,000 open executive federal positions might be “unnecessary.”

What the establishment initially saw as Trump’s slowness and incompetence at filling more than 4,000 federal political appointments, they are now beginning to see as the opening shots of a war of attrition against the administrative state.

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, and budget reconciliation immune from Senate Democratic filibuster, Trump may get everything he wants in giving Washington bureaucrats a haircut.

To whom would voters complain? Both of Virginia’s senators are Democrats, as are Maryland’s. Reps Bob Goolatte (R-Va. 6 CD) and Dave Brat (R-Va. 7 CD) might suffer the wrath of laid-off voters in northern Virginia, but their votes are not enough to stop the assault against the federal bureaucracy.

Democrats are desperate for any issue to resonate with the public, that they can stage a “shut down the government” standoff.  Right now, that issue the the border wall. That probably won’t work. But it would be beyond ironic if the Democrats held the debt ceiling hostage–the agreement to suspend the debt ceiling expires on April 28.

The bad news is that the price of all this cutting is likely to be funding Planned Parenthood, the left’s sacred cow. From POLITICO:

The Democrats also drew a line at including anything in the funding bill that would “roll back protections for our veterans, environment, consumers, and workers and prohibit funds for critical healthcare services for women through Planned Parenthood. We strongly oppose the inclusion of such riders in any of the must-pass appropriations bills that fund the government.”

So far, so good however. What I’ve seen coming out of Congress is bill after bill shoved down the Democrats’ throats. Every amendment they’ve proposed has been defeated on party lines. Every call for reopening debate has been met with a steamroller of Republicans.

If that trend continues, small government Republicans might get the budget of our dreams–at least until we see the trillion dollar bill for infrastructure programs and the increases in mandatory benefits.

Honestly, I’ll take a one-time “stimulus” and infrastructure spending package to win a permanent cut of federal regulatory state discretionary spending. You can’t overestimate the drag the regulatory economy exerts on businesses and capital investment. Once the business environment and capital spigot opens, the benefits become clear and intoxicating. I find myself, for the first time in a long time, looking forward to a federal budget.

Unfortunately, Washington, D.C. bureaucrats are not so optimistic.

This Is Really Good For America

President Trump will speak to Congress Tuesday, and will unveil advisor Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state.” The New York Times is reporting that Trump will outline a budget heavy on cuts to ensconced Deep State agencies like the State Department and the EPA–with Defense getting the boon.

I say “good.” And I think the majority of Americans will agree.

Those fat and happy bureaucrats in Washington and scattered field offices need to taste the axe for once. I’ve lived through three difficult Air Force BRACs. One closed Pease AFB in New Hampshire. Then I moved to Warner Robins, Georgia, where we’ve survived two more, not without injury. The former Warner Robins Air Logistics Center is now a mere “Air Logistics Complex” under Tinker AFB’s (Oklahoma City) budget.

Granted, the defense budget is loaded with its share of fat to be trimmed–up to $120 billion according to a recent study that the DoD tried to bury. But the EPA and State have, for the last 24 years, sat fat and happy.

When Bill Clinton took office in 1993, the EPA’s budget was $6.8 billion with 17,280 employees. In FY 2016, it was $8.1 billion, with only 15,376 employees, after peaking in FY 2010 with a whopping $10.2 billion. Since 2002, the State Department’s foreign affairs budget has ballooned from $8.2 billion to $11.2 billion in FY 2016. That doesn’t include foreign aid and military assistance.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of what benefits America more. I realize that this analysis is dependent on one’s worldview–some think rising oceans is an imminent threat and others think China’s soon-to-be missile-ready manmade islands are a bigger threat. But which gives America more options, globally-speaking: a well-functioning, efficient and ready military, or foreign service functionaries and SWAT teams for the EPA?

I’ve made my case that the EPA itself is a duplicative, liberal-issue-advocacy hive of socialist bureaucrats who have made its mission to discredit capitalism and shake down companies for the benefit of Greenpeace. The EPA should be shuttered, in my opinion, and no harm would be done. In fact, up to $353 billion in extortion money could be reinvested into the economy if the EPA no longer exercised gunpoint hegemony over every drop we drink, and every breath we take.

Give that cash to Elon Musk and he’d have us driving electric cars, storing solar energy in high efficiency batteries, and using hyperloops for intercity travel before half the EPA navel-gazers could retire on their federal pensions. I’m all for energy efficiency. I’m also for government efficiency.

As for the State Department, we’ve spent half the last 16 years fighting a war to liberate Iraqis from a cruel despot, and the other half throwing them under the boot of ISIS. We spent half eliminating the Taliban and its heroin-fueled terror operation from Afghanistan, and the other half apologizing to the Taliban while they continue to kill our soldiers.

The State Department has yielded few boons to America, because former President Obama let the liberal dogs run without a leash. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry chased the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov around the world like chided puppies, while Vladimir Putin amassed an enormous fortune robbed from his country (Trump respects Putin’s business savvy). Putin had his way in Crimea, Syria, and the Baltics. What did State do for America? Squeal about the oceans rising.

Trump has yet to fill 2,000 or so political appointments. Why should he bother? The country hasn’t collapsed. These “Schedule C” appointments make up the hydra head of the administrative state’s policy and regulatory machinery. If Trump is about to cut the agencies anyway, why fill the positions? He shouldn’t.

Last, the DoD needs a shave and a haircut, but not a budget cut. Defense procurement has become a game, and it needs to be a business. We need to build the best weapons systems in the world, the best logistics in the world, and create the best warfighters in the world. Old systems need to catch up on deferred maintenance.

The president’s plan, if it’s what the liberal-leaning New York Times thinks it is, will do much more for America–and get more citizens excited about our future–than all the doom-and-gloom predictions of the main stream media.

Remember, Trump won because he presented a better message–one that resonated with Americans. Though his approval rating might be terrible, people’s optimism about the nation has increased since he took office.

Trump’s budget plan speaks to the average American that the president cares more about their every day life than he cares about the government. This is the first time in a very long time that any president has delivered on his rhetoric.

95,471 mi. vs. 1,989 mi.

Trivia time. How long is our border with Mexico verses U.S. borders surrounded by ocean? Times up. The number: 95,471 miles of ocean front property vs. 1,989 miles with Mexico. And that is often left out of our national security and immigration discussion.

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere for his Midnight Ride is said to be given the signal by lantern, “One if by land, and two if by sea.” As seen in the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church relating to Colonial Militia taking up arms against King George’s Red Coats and how they would arrive.

Today that “signal” can be related to our coastline’s foaming porous borders, with a world in disarray that an underfunded and undermanned U.S. Coast Guard is mandated to protect.

Again and again, people argue a “wall” is the be all, end all, answer to the U.S. border problem; yet, how many of us have stood barefoot in the wet sands of that other border making up the Manifest Destiny of America?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the official estimate of U.S. shoreline/border is 95,471 miles. And every single mile comes under the smallest arm of the U.S. military, the least manned, oldest equipped, and even with an increase in budget 2017, is still the least funded branch of service. Welcome to the United States Coast Guard, America’s oldest continuous seagoing service, today seeing 40,000 active-duty personnel and 5,000 Auxiliary.

Some attempt to get to the United States by paying drug smugglers called “coyotes,” who promise illegal immigrants they know the “best way” to get into the United States. As we tighten the land border, entry via our water border is growing. And with thousands in the Middle East moving across North Africa already tempting the waves of the Atlantic, the Coast Guard, already having to do more with less, is getting ready to do just that.

Annually, for years now, the budget of the Coast Guard has rested near the $10 billion mark; just 6- percent of the Naval Department’s budget, not much more than in 2016 and 2017. A bean-counter somewhere in the past two years made available an additional $1.6 billion in acquisition funds to the Coast Guard for more ice breakers and one offshore patrol cutter.

When considering added resources to protect critical port infrastructure, including defense assets, and responding to potential security threats in U.S. ports and waterways, $1.6 billion is hardly enough to the nation’s Homeland Security defense arm that since 9/11 has stepped up a long-standing role in port security.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft delivering the 2016 State of the Coast Guard Address in Washington, Feb. 23, 2016, said, “Looking at the challenges we’re facing in the world today: ladies and gentlemen, you’re going to need a bigger Coast Guard.”

We can build a wall of 1,000 miles, implement immigration reform, and put in place a plan to defeat ISIS. Yet, all that is short sighted unless we provide the Coast Guard with additional personnel and funding for a more modern, bigger fleet. It’s time to focus on the Coast Guard and double its budget over the next five years.

Want an Extra $27 Billion for Education? We Have it, It’s Just being Held Hostage

One of the most common laments we hear about the public school system is that there’s simply not enough money to go around.

Failing student body? Not enough money.

Dilapidated buildings? Not enough money.

Teacher shortages? Not enough money.

Admittedly there was a time when I believed the same thing. There’s simply not enough money to go around. We can’t fix our schools until more people give up more money.

We’re too greedy!

 

We could have a healthy debate about “needs” and “fixes”. Maybe we should raise property taxes so we can pay teachers more. Or maybe we should switch to digital texts instead of traditional books. Or maybe we should just make school  a Hunger Games style competition where the one winner gets all the educational opportunities and never again has to share a locker.

But let’s leave all that behind, because there are pros and cons to all of those solutions (I stand by my Hunger Games suggestion). Forget the controversy.

What if we could inject $27 billion dollars every single year into public school system across the country right now? What would you do with that money if it were yours to evenly distribute?

This isn’t a snarky writer’s “Hunger Games” joke. This is a real figure that could have been a real boon to our education system but for the current state of bloated bureaucracy.

The problem is precisely this – while student enrollment, staff and teachers have surged over the last 20 years, school administration (the only people who don’t set foot in a classroom) has surged astronomically. The growth of distant administrative roles has been so rapid and so large that it has absorbed an astonishing amount of tax dollars every year.

Don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at some numbers provided by the Department of Education itself.

From 1950 to 2009 the overall student population in America increased by 96%. Teaching staff increased by 252%. Support staff – that includes every employee inside a school who is not a teacher – increased by 386%. Administrative staff – that means anyone who works for a department outside of the school – increased by 702%.

*These statistics can be found at the US Department of Education and the Ed Choice report for School Choice Outcomes.

Yeah, let that sink in for just a minute.

 

From 1992 to 2009 alone student population only increased by 19% while teaching staff increased by 28% and administrative by 45%.

These numbers are striking for several reasons, not the least of which is that of all the staff associated with running an education program the group with the lowest rate of increase were teachers – the only ones in this scenario actually responsible for a classroom full of young minds and their direct conduit to an education.

Its unconscionable that we hear no end to the complaints about teacher shortages and poor teacher pay and then sink unfathomable  amounts of money into paper pushers while our teachers continue to struggle in the classroom. If the entire point of a public education is to teach children, why are we spending more money on the people who never see one student during their workday?

Some people might say that all those administrators are necessary to navigate a growing education system. I imagine most people saying that are probably administrators themselves. However, there is no proof that the spending spree in staff and administrative services has helped public education in any way. Graduation rates at this moment in time are roughly about the same as they were in 1970.

It’s not helping.

But here is where all that money I was talking about earlier comes into play. Recognizing that every employee of the education system only exists to support the educated, if teacher/staff and administrative hires were balanced to directly match the growth of the student population the American public education system could save $27.1 billion dollars a year.

A year.

What could we do with $27 billion dollars every single year? We could give every teacher in America an $8700 raise.

Every single year.

We could provide $8000 in scholarships to private schools to 3.4 million students currently trapped in failing districts.

Every single year.

We could reduce property taxes (thereby giving poor Americans a greater opportunity to afford home ownership in a good school district).

Every single year.

When I look at these numbers I see a pyramid, with the children at the bottom. Our education system has become a job creation machine at the expense of the welfare of our children. They are the ones who should be the top of the pyramid. Everyone else should be holding them up.

This is a large reason I am a huge supporter of school choice. Our public education dollars have been grossly mishandled and there’s been no real oversight to this travesty of justice. Our children deserve better. Allowing parents to choose where their child goes to school puts the kids back on top of the pyramid and forces the base to readjust.

Its time for a major readjustment in this country when it comes to public education. We are failing our kids in the worst possible way – we are stealing their right to educational equality in the name of greed.

*This article was originally posted at samepagenation.com August 26, 2016