Saturday, February 15, 2020

Trump’s budget proposal shows he’s willing to cut spending if conservatives would fight for it

Sean Rayford/Getty Images
It’s become a perennial joke. Every year in February, Trump’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduces an ambitious budget proposal to slash spending and abolish wasteful programs. Then, by the end of the year, not only is every principle of that proposal jettisoned in the actual budget signed by the president, but the new budget increases spending for every program that he promised to cut.
Yet the fact that the president is willing to put his name on a conservative budget demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be this way. If outside conservative organizations, media, and members of Congress would actually stay focused, President Trump’s second term can be more fiscally conservative.
The few of us who still care about limited government experienced heartburn when the president proposed more big government programs without mentioning the debt bomb during what was otherwise a terrific State of the Union Address last week. The president railed against socialism and how it “destroys nations,” then proceeded to propose ideas that can only be described as socialism lite.
The typical response I’ve heard from some colleagues is, “Well, Trump was never going to be a limited government president.” However, that is simply not true, as we see from his willingness to sign on to conservative budgets every year, more conservative than any president in modern history. Sure, the president was never going to make changes to Social Security and Medicare, but everything else – from Medicaid and welfare to foreign aid and domestic non-defense discretionary spending – was all fair game.
Unfortunately, unfocused conservatives have allowed Democrats to work with the ineffective GOP leaders in Congress to increase spending to record levels that blow out the shocking levels of the Obama era. Annual spending by the Department of Education, for example, is now up to $83 billion, 24 percent higher (in non-inflation-adjusted dollars) than during Obama’s spendathon in 2009. With a booming job market and record revenue, spending and deficits are blowing out the levels accrued during the deepest recession in generations.
But again, today’s budget release demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be this way. Trump will sign a bad budget if the swamp consensus coalesces around it. But at the same time, if conservatives work to back the non-swamp elements of the administration pushing for spending cuts the president is clearly OK with, he would sign a good budget as well.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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