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TRUMP AND THE BUDGET

February 28, 2017

TRUMP AND THE BUDGET

Trump’s budget director recently laid out Trump’s vision of the budget while hastening to tell us that this was merely a blueprint of the budget, a list of priorities Trump would be bringing to the Congress for approval. I sure hope that’s all it is because even in its faint outlines it poses a disaster for America.

When Trump gave a speech at Boeing last week and ended it saying “God bless America” and “God bless Boeing” I was at a loss in hearing anyone ask for the blessings of Deity for a huge defense industry, a for-profit corporation involved in providing instruments of death while enjoying the good will of God for our “defense” and while draining our treasury, all of which seemed un-Godlike to me. After hearing of his blueprint to add 10% to our already obscenely bloated defense appropriations which amount to more than the next 22 countries’ defense appropriations combined, it seemed to me that Boeing would do well with or without the help of Deity. I commented elsewhere that it was the taxpayers who needed divine intervention in financing Boeing’s bottom line with another layer of corporate welfare for unneeded “defense” appropriations rather than Boeing.

Assuming that the economic pie does not expand with substantial economic growth and that we don’t raise taxes (both unlikely events), then we must make do with the economy’s income for our next fiscal year to finance our government’s activities, and if we are to have a balanced budget we must make cuts in other areas in order to account for the 10 percent increase in Trump’s proposed defense appropriations. His budget director says that cuts in other appropriations in other government activities will be necessary in order to increase defense appropriations by 10 percent and stay within the budget, and I smell a rat.

Here’s the source of the odor from my conspiracy theory in this connection: (1) That Trump knows we already have far too much money devoted to defense but that he can safely break out the flag and with some fear-mongering get yet more corporate welfare for these huge corporations, (2) That these huge government contractors have deep pockets for campaign contributions to those who keep the welfare trough running, and (3) Most importantly, that increasing corporate welfare for the “defense” industries and putting other agencies on starvation diets gives him an excuse to cut so-called “entitlements” due to the crisis he has created, “entitlements” such as social security and various healthcare programs. He currently says he “will not touch” social security and Medicare, but in times of financial crisis he can cite the crisis and change his mind, even though he is the one who created the crisis.

My theory is that he wants to kill two birds with one stone, unnecessarily enriching the already rich and assuring a pipeline of campaign contributions while creating a financial crisis which will necessitate cuts in programs that benefit the American people rather than corporations. Even if I am off the mark with my above conclusions as to such devious conduct, there are inarguable facts to ponder before approving lopsided  welfare appropriations for big defense contractors and, among others, include the following: (1) We already have more money devoted to defense than almost all the rest of the civilized world, (2) Our heavy outlays for defense are a major reason we have such a large national debt, and (3) Other important initiatives either cannot be taken or are under-financed as a result of funneling such heavy appropriation of funds to the “defense” industry, an industry (along with its shareholders and executives) which is already wallowing in wealth provided by American taxpayers.

Finally, even if a case could be made that Putin has missiles at the ready and pointed at us and that such a 10 percent expansion is necessary for national security (which I doubt given our present military superiority), still Trump would be using a machete rather than a scalpel in applying a (let’s say) 10 percent across the board cut for other government agencies to finance the increase in the defense budget. Perhaps some agencies could survive the cut, but the effectiveness of others might well be lost in the budget shuffle, thus leading to inefficiencies in what government is charged to provide.

Trump’s budget director says that this is only an outline of Trump’s budget priorities and not a budget, but budgets are formed from outlines and, so far, I am impressed neither with his priorities nor with the likely outcomes of what his outlines propose and hope that the Congress is of a similar view.    GERALD     E

 

 

 

 

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