There’s not a small dose of Stephen Bannon’s “dismantle the administrative state” serum in President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, which hit lawmakers’ desks today.
Over the next 10 years, Trump’s proposal would trim $4.3 trillion (with a “T”) of federal spending, while adding a modest $469 billion in discretionary defense spending, and $200 billion in “infrastructure” spending.
What has liberal heads exploding is the entirely necessary cuts to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These expenses would be shifted to individual states, who honestly do a better job managing safety-net programs designed to be temporary. When run by the one-size-fits-all boot of the federal government, these programs turn into generational poverty for millions of Americans.
Between Medicaid, CHIP, and food stamps (SNAP) cuts, government spending would shrink by $888 billion. Add to that another $311 billion in interest payments on the debt as the budget contracts, for a total of $1.199 trillion.
It really doesn’t matter if the cuts last 10 years (they almost surely won’t). Any cuts to these leviathan transfer payments is the first step in actual budget discipline.
I haven’t included the White House’s claim of $2 trillion in economic growth or $593 billion in savings from reductions in war funding. These are forward-looking, even spurious claims. But any cuts at all to liberal favorites which give Washington more power and states less power are triggers that automatically dump dead children, diseases, and starving single moms on Republican laps.
The National Cancer Institute would be hit with a $1 billion cut compared to its 2017 budget. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute would see a $575 million cut, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would see a reduction of $838 million. The administration would cut the overall National Institutes of Health budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion.
Admin: cut CDC $1.2B (17%). More cancer, HIV, sr falls, infx. Defund science (prevention,injury,other ctrs->0 ). Americans wd be less safe.
— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFrieden) May 23, 2017
Because liberals know best that only government spending prevents cancer, HIV, and seniors falling. Only federal tax money can produce “Science.” Only Medicaid, CHIP, and SNAP save children from hunger. Right.
And the critics complain about transferring $500 million back into block grants to states, because “block grants allow states to plug holes in their budgets, without accountability that federal programs require.” That’s the real reason they don’t like it: It takes power from the feds to bully states and lets state legislators and governors determine what’s best.
Funny how when California legislators move to protect sanctuary cities, they are rock-ribbed guardians of the public good, but when state legislators have to manage programs the feds used to control, they’re untrustworthy thieves and criminals.
More to love
The administrative rollback in funding is almost breathtaking.
- EPA cut by 31 percent, to $5.65 billion (not enough in my book but a good start)
- Converts many foreign military sales (FMS) assistance and financing to loans
- Department of Education programs cut by 13.5 percent ($9.2 billion)
- Merges the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) into the State Department
- Guts the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues among other sinecures with no discernible purpose
What the liberals tend to gloss over is that Trump wants to add paid family leave–something that will have a real impact on families–to his budget. When they do mention the program, they simply criticize it as not enough.
Congress will have a good time with this budget, and hopefully most if it can survive intact, to be force-fed down Democrats’ throats. This budget exceeded my expectations, because I didn’t think Trump would cut the most contentious programs, although he left Medicare and Social Security alone.
Overall, it’s a good start to some fiscal sanity in a government that really believed it could grow forever and spend unlimited amounts of money without eventually irreparably harming our economy. Kudos to Trump’s budget director Mike Mulvaney for his efforts.