President Trump's proposed $4.4 trillion budget for 2019 gives up on what has been the Republican Party's holy grail for years: balancing the federal budget. Fortunately, since Congress has just passed a two-year budget plan, this latest proposal from Trump is DOA on Capitol Hill.
Nevertheless, the Trump administration's “Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,” espouses President Trump’s priorities as Congress prepares to consider spending bills for the next fiscal year. It would continue substantial increases in military spending, finance Trump's wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, launch a new $1 trillion infrastructure program and increase overall expenditures by 10 percent over the current year.
While that spending is being sought, Trump wants major cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other social programs, largely by instructing states to establish work-related requirements for recipients. But even with these reductions that would exceed $3 trillion over 10 years, the proposal would not bring the budget into balance because of the lost tax revenue and higher spending on other programs.
So much for Trump's campaign promise not to touch Medicare or Medicaid.
His budget both panders to hard-right conservatives in Congress, like House Speaker Paul Ryan, who have long sought to slash what they call government "entitlement" programs. Still, how must Ryan feel today with this massive Trump spending spree?
When Ryan chaired the House Budget Committee, he routinely proposed tax and spending plans aimed at eliminating the deficit over 10 years, despite critics concern that his changes would lead to a severe curtailment in government programs such as Medicare. Now, Ryan acts as though all of that no longer matters.
Remember 2011 when GOP lawmakers took the government to the brink of default, demanding a vote on a Constitutional amendment that would prohibit the federal government from spending more than it takes in. What happened to that?
Trump's budget also demonstrates this former reality TV personality's ability at slight-of-hand.
While it proposes a massive $1 trillion investment in infrastructure improvements, only $200 billion would come from the feds with the rest being piled upon the states and local governments, as well as some private investment. Bottom line if that passes: get ready for a lot of tolls and higher motor fuels taxes to pay the tab.
He even wants to sell off federal properties like Washington National and Dulles Airports and two major freeways around Washington, DC, as part of an initiative to dispose of government-owned properties that he says would better be operated privately or by states.
How would that work? Somewhere, somehow, the money will be needed. And guess where it will come from: you and me.
So, at the end of the day while his much ballyhooed tax cut might fatten our paychecks a bit for a little while, it's going to be consumed by all of these other taxes and fees that most surely are just around the corner.
You know the old saw, "I've got a bridge you can buy?" Trump actually does, only it's our country that he wants to sell off bit by bit, not just a bridge.