The draft budget presented yesterday by the White House reflects the priorities of President Donald Trump. Those involve drastic increases in defense spending at the expense of reducing federal programs that protect and help middle- and low-income Americans.
The federal spending plan is a long process that gets started with the president’s proposal. In this case, he proposes a 10% increase in the Defense budget, which means unprecedented draconian cuts in other sectors of the federal government.
Those include a 30% decrease for diplomacy, as well as other cuts from the areas of the environment to education; from basic federal subsidies for states to several programs to help minorities and job training, among others.
It is estimated that two thirds of the federal budget go to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest payments on the debt. According to Trump, the federal safety net will remain intact.
More than half of the remaining third of the budget goes to defense spending, and the rest funds all the other government tasks. That latest group should provide all the money that will go to the Pentagon. This is a really difficult thing to achieve without devastating effects for the federal agencies. The lack of funds will prevent them from providing a number of services to all Americans.
Add to this the upcoming tax cuts that will deplete the federal coffers. More defense spending coupled with tax cuts are a well-known recipe for big budget deficits.
On the other hand, the Pentagon does not need more funds. Trump’s catastrophic outlook about the need to increase military funds because “We never win wars anymore” is false.
The Pentagon is a waste of money, with a bloated bureaucracy and costly, useless weaponry. Before giving more money to contractors they should have their numbers in order.
It is not unusual for Trump to start the negotiation making a risible, absurd proposal and then get where he wants to go from there. However, this sign causes more fear than laughter. The imbalance it shows against the federal structure and the beneficiaries of its services is really worrying.