Editor’s Note: This is a three-part series on the Trump budget. Part 1 focuses on the good things about the budget plan; Parts 2 and 3 will look at the not-so-positive things about the plan.
Did you know that the little “Energy Star” icon on your appliances is actually a program administered by the federal government? Did you know that the funding amount for the agency is not available to the public? In his proposed budget, President Donald Trump specifically calls out the Energy Star program – not for a reduction in funding, but for total elimination. President Trump’s blueprint for drastically downsizing various agencies of the executive branch is a breath of fresh air in a town where a reduction in the rate of increase is called a cut.
As with everything the president does, this budget is not without controversy, consternation, or concern. Numerous critiques of the plan have emerged from the left, right, and center over the past few weeks. Many question the tough choices made in the budget. Others criticize the decisions of the president and his staff. A few journalists heap praise on the cuts and increases. At Liberty Nation, we strive to give you a balanced view of the budget, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. Over this three-part series, we will take you on a deep dive into the facts of the president’s budget.
Over the past two-hundred-plus years, the size of the federal government has increased exponentially. After adjusting for inflation, the federal budget is ten times larger today than it was seventy years ago, according to the Tax Policy Center. We have run deficits every year since 2001. President Trump made “draining the swap” a central part of his campaign, and his budget proposal goes a long way toward starting that process.
According to a Bloomberg analysis, this proposed budget completely shutters nineteen independent agencies in one fell swoop. Organizations like the African Development Foundation and Inter-American Foundation are excellent candidates for elimination since they do not directly benefit American citizens. If people want to support growth in other countries, let them voluntarily donate their money. Other organizations such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, Denali Commission, Northern Border Regional Commission, and Delta Regional Authority belong at the state level, not federal.
Lastly, and most alarming to liberals, the following group of arts and humanities agencies got the ax: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for Humanities. The federal government has no business funding the arts and humanities – the cost to the taxpayers outweighs any educational benefit from these programs. Additionally, the internet and the widespread proliferation of free online educational and cultural resources has rendered these federal programs obsolete.
The budget asks nearly every department to make do with less, whether through shuttering specific programs or just reducing overhead, shrinking headcounts, and finding ways to be more efficient. Every business in America has gone through lean times where sacrifices had to be made. The time for our federal government to do the same is long overdue. This belt tightening is particularly welcome at departments which have no business even existing at a national level, such as Education and Housing and Urban Development.
On the flip side, there are several functions which are critical to the federal mission statement, and these associated departments saw actual increases in this budget. In addition to the Department of Defense, which was the biggest benefactor, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security both saw funding hikes.
Also incredibly refreshing is that in a sea of red, one phrase comes up here and there with a funding increase associated with it. The phrase? Program integrity. This is a catch-all term for the teams that combat fraud, waste, and abuse in the various programs of the government. If these groups have the tools and funding to do their jobs, the cuts elsewhere in the budget will not fall as hard.
President Trump has moved to change funding levels to reflect the true national priorities, while also eliminating a wide swath of unnecessary, wasteful, or obsolete programs. This plan is a bold move towards a federal government more in line with its original mandate: establish justice, provide defense, promote growth, and ensure liberty.
The budget, however, is far from perfect. In part two we will explore some of the shortcomings contained within its pages.
Join us tomorrow for our analysis of President Trump’s budget plan in Part 2 tomorrow.