The president* did some big-boy presidentin' on Monday. He submitted a budget to the Congress wherein, thank the Lord, the Founders placed the oversight of the national fisc. He might as well have submitted a scorecard from Turnberry for all the effect this document is going to have on the nation's economy. But he is a Republican president* submitting a Republican budget, so it's as horrible as you might expect it to be, even though it is really most sincerely dead on arrival. From The Washington Post:
The budget proposal dramatically raises the possibility of another government shutdown in October, and Trump used to the budget to notify Congress he is seeking an additional $8.6 billion to build sections of a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border. The budget also calls on increased military spending, another in a string of proposals that prompted Democrats to label the budget a non-starter that will not win congressional support. If lawmakers and Trump don’t reach a spending agreement by the end of September, many government operations will ground to a halt.
The optimism once again flows like molasses.
Trump’s “Budget for a Better America” also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump for the first time calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect. His budget would also propose a major overhaul of Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans run jointly with states, by turning more power over to states. This would save $241 billion over 10 years. Other agencies, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, State Department, Transportation Department, and Interior Department, would see their budgets severely reduced.
Here, once again, we pause to remind all here that this is exactly the kind of budget that would have been submitted by any Republican who won the presidency in 2016. It is also the kind of budget that would've been cheered by practically any Republican pundit alive, Never-Trumper or no.
The budget foresees a $1.1 trillion deficit in 2019, 2020, and 2021, and a $1 trillion deficit in 2022. These deficits will add to the existing $22 trillion debt and put further strain on the budget. For example, the White House now projects the government will spend $482 billion on interest payments for the debt next year, more than the entire budget for Medicaid, which provides health care benefits for millions of people. More broadly, Tump’s budget would impose mandatory work-requirements for millions of people who receive welfare assistance while dramatically increasing the defense budget to $750 billion next year, a 5 percent increase from 2019.
"Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter," said Dick Cheney. Both men predate El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago and are considered in many Republican circles to be iconic.
Trump and other Republicans have said the federal budget is full of waste and bloat, and that many federal agencies could still perform their functions with less taxpayer assistance. And even though they have proposed budget cuts before, only to be rejected by Congress, his top advisers want to dig in on the cuts this year, convinced Americans will support them.
Wait. I think I've heard this before. I did hear this before. In 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992-sadly, occasionally, from 1992-2000, too-as well as 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008.
The difference between this budget and the bog-standard budget of any Republican president, of course, is the $8.6 billion for his big, beautiful stupid wall, built to cope with an imaginary emergency on the border. As far as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her majority caucus are concerned, of course, he might as well have asked for the Great Agra Treasure and mining rights on Neptune. All it does is set himself up for another fight he can pretend to win while getting his ass drop-kicked over the Key Bridge. As Pelosi said upon hearing about this volume of science-fiction the other day, the budget is "talking about funding a campaign applause line," which doesn't sound like she's any more open to the idea than she was the last time the president* threw a fit on this issue.
The one gnat in the egg salad here for Democratic politicians, and especially those running for president, is that the temptation to go all deficit-hawk over this budget is going to be very strong. (My winter-book bet is on either Amy Klobuchar or Cory Booker.) It then will be very important to remember the Blog's First Law Of Economics-Fck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money.
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