President Donald Trump will soon release a preliminary budget plan, according to sources inside the administration. Reuters reports this proposal will include a “historic” increase in military spending, offset in equal amounts with a cut in non-defense outlays. This preview of the spending plan provides the American people with their first specific peek at President Trump’s financial formula to make America great again. Look for the president to provide further details during his first address to a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday night, according to The Hill.
The magic number for defense spending leaked by administration insiders is $54 billion. The president would channel this increase to military hardware purchases as well as force projection at critical waterways around the world. In other words, Uncle Sam is about to buy a slew of new planes and ships and then park them at the busiest intersections around the globe. This strategy ties directly into President Trump’s campaign promise to revitalize and rebuild our nation’s military and should come as no surprise to anybody.
The spending hike amounts to a 9% increase over current levels, but the president wants to ensure that it does not raise the overall deficit. The other portion of his proposal includes the method by which the budget is revenue neutral. The president will compensate for the rise in defense monies by slashing an equivalent amount from federal agency budgets and foreign aid. Specific potential targets include pulling back on amounts that go into the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department coffers. However, it is likely that no department will be spared, as reduced spending will need to come from multiple places to make up the overall difference, reports USA Today.
Notably absent from this preliminary look are both taxes and entitlements. Expect President Trump to include taxes in his formal budget submission, traditionally presented to Congress by mid-March. It is likely this finalized plan will feature cuts zeroed out with hikes elsewhere in the code, similar to how the president handled the military boost. Entitlement changes, on the other hand, do not even appear to be on the horizon. This absence is not unanticipated since entitlement reform has long been the third rail of politics. Additionally, during his candidacy, Trump promised time and time again he would not touch Social Security or Medicare. His Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, confirmed this pledge is yet another promise which President Trump will keep, according to Fox News.
With just over a month in the White House, the list of fulfilled campaign pledges continues to grow and grow. This latest budget development adds a military build-up, federal agency downsizing, serious cutbacks in foreign aid, and immunity for entitlements to the roster. Important to note, however, is that this budget is merely a starting point — the final product, constructed by House Republicans and then torn down and rebuilt by Senate Democrats, may not even be recognizable when compared to how Trump’s original budget is built. But even the upper chamber is controlled by the GOP, so it’s unlikely Democrats will be able to make any extensive changes. Nevertheless, the president may see an uprising within the fiscally conscientious members of his own party.