The Trump budget plan has been proposed to Congress, and like many of his policy proposals, his budget is a radical departure from Washington political norms.
The United States Federal Budget is the largest government budget in the world. It’s slowly creeping toward the $4 trillion mark and is unparalleled in size. Think about the federal budget this way: If the U.S. government were a country, it would have the sixth-largest economy in the world, or between the size of Germany and Russia’s economy.
The Trump administration is taking a knife to the part of the budget that can be altered. Many of our entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security are considered mandatory spending. Therefore, the administration can only cut where it’s allowed: discretionary or optional spending.
As you can see in the pie chart, discretionary spending is less one-third of the federal budget. The rest of the budget goes to mandatory spending and interest on the national debt.
Practicing what they preach
The guiding principle of this budget, according to the administration, is diverting resources from several branches of government in order to beef-up law enforcement and our national defense.
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget told the press that they formulated this budget “using the president’s own words” from his speeches on the campaign trail.
Taking a knife to the federal budget
As far as where they’re gutting, the numbers speak for themselves, as the administration sees the need to increase defense spending dramatically while cutting, to some degree, nearly everything else.
Trump’s budget targets cuts to several federal agencies to pay for increased defense spending. Some agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of State (specifically foreign aid through USAID) face the most drastic cuts. Other Departments, such as Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Agriculture and Commerce, also face deep cuts from their 2017 budgets.
These budget cuts shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who paid attention during the campaign because this is the vision that they clearly presented to voters. A leaner state that’s more focused on defense than diplomacy, and a federal government that isn’t standing in the way of business.
To make that happen, this budget starves many parts of what Trump supporters call “the administrative state.” Under this plan, dozens of federal agencies and programs will disappear entirely, creating a vacuum in many facets of American life.
Naturally, opposition to this budget proposal will be fierce, since many will contend that these type of budget cuts will harm our international relations, our environment, the poor and nearly every American in some way.
This is just a proposal, look for many changes
Of course, the president’s budget is merely a proposal at this point. If you’re familiar with how American government works, it is tradition for the president to submit a budget proposal to Congress. Once it’s delivered, it has to pass both the House and Senate before being sent back to the president to sign.
Unfortunately, Trump’s budget does little to address our chronic federal deficit. In fact, under this budget, we’re still expecting a half a trillion dollar shortfall in 2018, and for the foreseeable future. This will only further increase our already eye-popping amount of public debt.
Budget cuts are politically challenging endeavors and this administration is not exempt from political realities. As it stands, there’s little to no chance that this budget will make its way through Congress as-is. There will be significant changes as many elected leaders from both parties have expressed concern at these draconian cuts to government funding.
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