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Shrinking the Federal Bureaucracy

You all know I’ve been super critical of the President on a number of foreign policy and national security issues, including those he chose for his national security team, but I like to think I’m fair, and aside from the thankfully defunct Michael Flynn and the unfortunately current Darth Badhair McHobo and MiniMogul, his national security team is actually shaping up pretty well. Jim Mattis and John Kelly are perfect Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security respectively. I’ve heard nothing but good things about H.R. McMaster, and I literally did a happy dance at the selection of Fiona Hill as White House senior director for Europe and Russia. I’ve referenced her articles on Putin before. She’s an expert and a realist. What’s not to like?

I also like to think I’m fair on domestic policy issues. So, yes, TrumpCare, or whatever we’re calling it this week, is a dumpster fire and the constant Twitter seizures and unsubstantiated claims of wiretapping and unemployment data manipulation by 44 are getting old.

That said… the left’s apoplectic paroxysms of outrage about proposed Trump budget cuts are giving me giggle fits. Fiscal responsibility involves sometimes tough choices, and I think we finally have a President who is willing to make them, who is willing to look at all the multiplicative, wasteful, and downright unconstitutional programs the federal government is funding and say, “Enough!”

Let’s remember that the vast majority of the federal budget is non-discretionary, which means it’s mandatory spending. We have to pay certain bills, and we don’t have a choice about it.  Among them is entitlement spending, such as Social Security. It is spent based on existing laws rather than the budgeting process, and without actual entitlement reform, we must pay it. Discretionary spending constitutes a pretty small portion of the federal budget, which means we need to be judicious about how we spend that money, which includes funding for our military, education, international affairs, environment, etc.

Discretionary Spending is the portion of the budget that the president requests and Congress appropriates every year. It represents less than one-third of the total federal budget, while mandatory spending accounts for around two-thirds.

Trump’s budget proposal does exactly this, but the left is, of course, hyperventilating about it, because they’re all about MOAR SPENDING! The Washington Post this morning helpfully shows what program cuts will help fund $54 billion in proposed defense spending increases. I’m good with this, quite frankly, because national defense is one of the very few constitutional functions of our government. And guess what’s not on that list!

Agency/Program What it does
21st Century Community Learning Centers Provides funding for after-school programs for students in high-poverty areas
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program Provides loans to automotive manufacturers developing fuel-efficient technologies
African Development Foundation Invests in African businesses
Appalachian Regional Commission Invests in projects for economic growth in the Appalachian region
ARPA-E Funds research into new energy technologies
Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Chemical Safety Board Investigates industrial chemical accidents
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Provides funding for cleanup and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Community Development Block Grant Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants Provides support to financial services in underserved communities
Community Services Block Grant Provides funding for projects that alleviate poverty
Corporation for National & Community Service Runs AmeriCorps, City Year and other public service programs
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Provides federal funding to local radio and television stations across the U.S.
Delta Regional Authority Funds infrastructure and economic programs in the Mississippi River delta region
Denali Commission Provides economic assistance in Alaska
Economic Development Administration Provides funding for economic development projects across the U.S.
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account Provides emergency funding for humanitarian crises around the world
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Tests pesticides and other chemicals for adverse effects on humans and animals
Energy Star Provides assistance for energy efficiency programs
Essential Air Service program Provides funding for air transportation to rural communities
Global Climate Change Initiative Provides financial assistance for climate change initiatives in developing countries
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Provides funding for cleanup and protection of Great Lakes watersheds
Institute of Museum and Library Services Provides grants and research for libraries, museums, zoos and similar institutions.
Inter-American Foundation Provides development assistance to Latin American countries
Legal Services Corporation Provides legal aid to low-income Americans
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Assists low-income families with heating and cooling costs
McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program Provides school meals and nutrition programs in poor countries
Minority Business Development Agency Provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses
NASA Office of Education Supports STEM education initiatives
National Endowment for the Arts Provides funding for arts projects
National Endowment for the Humanities Provides funding for cultural institutions like universities and museums, as well as projects by individual scholars
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Provides housing assistance to low-income Americans
Northern Border Regional Commission Economic development in northern New England
Overseas Private Investment Corporation Helps U.S. businesses invest overseas
Senior Community Service Employment Program Funds job training for low-income, unemployed seniors
State Energy Program Provides funding and technical assistance for energy efficiency and clean energy
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program Provides grants to improve education quality
Targeted Air Shed Grants Provides grants for air pollution control
TIGER Discretionary Grant program Provides funding for transportation projects across the U.S.
Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program Provides loan guarantees for new energy products
United States Institute of Peace Works on international conflict mitigation
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Coordinates federal response to homelessness
US Trade and Development agency Promotes U.S. exports in developing countries.
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program Provides funding for water infrastructure in rural areas
Weatherization Assistance Program Provides grants for weatherizing low-income homes
Woodrow Wilson International Center Foreign policy think tank

The Post reports that a number of these federal programs have failed to show efficacy and that the private sector can perform these functions better.

Why the hell are we funding a foreign policy think tank? So it can produce written opinions on policy that, because they’re funded by the government, will invariably become a mouthpiece of said government.

Why are the feds giving money to businesses that want to invest overseas? Let these businesses assume their own risk and invest how they see fit, instead of the taxpayers funding businesses who will inevitably assume more risk, because it’s not their money to play with!

Why are U.S. taxpayers giving money to USAID through the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program to subsidize school lunches to foreign students? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that it’s the function of the government to give school lunches to our own kids, let alone to ones in other countries! I get that we want to appear to be generous and bighearted, but as a wise man once said, voting for the government to give poor people money is not compassion.

Neither is forcing the U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill for investments in African businesses. If someone wants to plop down their hard-earned dollars to invest in an African enterprise, great! Good for them! But to arbitrarily take money away from Americans and send them overseas tells us that bureaucrats know better how to spend our money and where to invest it (in businesses that likely prop up the political agenda, or in which the bureaucrats and politicians have interests). I’ll remind you how Solyndra worked out.

And don’t even get me started on government funding for the arts!

So yes, we need to be judicious with our spending. We need to focus on programs that are effective, efficient, and constitutional, and all this crap above ain’t it.

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18 responses

  1. I keep seeing people screeching that he’s defunding NEA. I keep asking what you do to get an NEA grant, to the overwhelming response of Crickets.

    Even authors can’t get an NEA grant (the only individual grants available) unless they’ve been published in an ‘edited format’.

    And Amazon doesn’t count.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It has often been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. Let us hope that this is only the first step in the adults taking control back from the children who have been spending our country into oblivion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

    But but… Big Bird! Trump is going to kill Big Bird!!! [Very Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am put in mind of when the Swedish chef planned to serve Big Bird for Christmas Dinner.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

        LOL 😆

        Like

  4. BillyBob Texas | Reply

    YES YES YES YES And many MORE like them.
    Some of those actually sound like they help ‘some’ people.
    A southern wall will help ALL our people.
    Finishing ISIS and GTFO of the Middle East will help ALL our people.
    Cutting bloated bureaucracy will help ALL of (our tax-paying) people….except the bureaucrats who actually have to get a Real Job in a Real Industry…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t give a rip about the Combover Caligula’s proposed federal budget. Like every other POTUS budget, it will be DOA in Congress in its current form.

    That doesn’t mean that Republicans in Congress won’t adopt much of his proposals — I fully expect them to make some fairly massive cuts that will no doubt cause all sorts of problems and the din of constant shrieking by those who are physically or emotionally attached to these programs.

    Elections have consequences.

    I’m not going to sweat it. If it goes too far, the electorate will bring it all back in a subsequent election.

    But I will still continue to ridicule silly policies, just because.

    Personally, I am more concerned about his personal financial ties and entanglements as they relate to foreign entities, such as the Russian oligarchy connected to the Kremlin. (I know, redundant) Especially since both he and the rest of the billionaires on his cabinet haven’t divested themselves of their financial interests.

    I’m concerned about the reports that Russia hacked our political parties and decided to take the information they had from the DNC and publicized it in order to either disrupt our elections and make Hillary a weak president, or to make sure that Trump got elected.

    But more importantly, I am concerned that maybe one or more people on the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians in order to make this happen. (Trump may or may not have known anything about it, but I find that kinda hard to believe, IF it did happen)

    I was in college when Nixon got elected. I lived through that entire mess and the six year mess that followed his resignation. The things I am seeing now were almost exactly what was going on back then, except that it took more than two weeks into the term before people were starting to wonder whether he will make it through the year.

    There are a LOT of questions that demand answers. The noise is only going to get louder until those questions are answered. Sure, you will always have an opposition from the Democrats, just as there was opposition from the Republicans when Dems were in power. That’s a given.

    But THIS is different. Here we have a president who might be compromised, and until we know for certain one way or the other, there will be a constant push from the Left for answers.

    Or at least until the Right finally figures out that they need to replace Trump with Pence.

    Like

    1. BillyBob Texas | Reply

      Don’t hold your breath on THAT one, Buddy……

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh, I don’t know. Trump is not an ideologue. He doesn’t believe in anything he says, he just says what he thinks that people want to hear.

        One of two things are liable to happen:

        1. Trump becomes bored or decides that this isn’t what he wants to be doing, and he decides to resign;

        OR

        2. Congressional Republicans, who would rather be dealing with a President Pence, will find a way to force The Donald out.

        Somehow I just don’t see Trump making it all the way through the next four years. Not with his cellar-basement approval ratings.

        Like

        1. BillyBob Texas

          …cellar-basement approval ratings….

          You REALLY need to stop watching Rachel Madcow…..

          Like

  6. NEA = grants to money-sucking morons like Annie Sprinkle and her sex shows in NYC. And somehow, those summer jobs programs that give students paychecks for art projects on the concrete bulwarks supporting overpasses DOES NOT COME FROM THE NEA. No, no. It comes from the DOT’s road repair funding. Check it out.

    Tell me WHY WHY WHY there are TWO SEPARATE AGENCIES (count ’em) that provide ‘funding for housing for low income families’? TWO? TWO?? TWO??????????

    There are other things like this, but you can get a pounding headache when you start looking them up.

    The ONLY TIME the US Government EVER did any good with grants to artists was during the Great Depression, when artists were hired to do murals for government buildings. A lot of old post offices still standing have those murals and the artwork is superb. THAT was worthwhile. It employed people when employment was desperately needed. What goes on now is a waste of public funding.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I got strangely excited reading the list of cuts he proposes… 1/2 of our UN contribution, NPR. the global warming Initiative…. Yippee!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I heard a clip of Pelosi trying to comment on the cuts to education and she sounded like she was intoxicated, like seriously fucked up…. looking to find a copy of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like someone gave Trump copies of Martin L Gross’s books and possibly tossed in James Bovard also.
    Gross had some really great ideas for reducing the cost and impact of government on ordinary people.

    Like

  10. The Constitution doesn’t require any of those programs, so they need to go.

    If a state wishes to continue a similar program, they can, but I doubt many would, if it cost them money. Too many prefer everyone financing their foolishness through the Federal Government.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, it’s more like the Constitution doesn’t allow those programs, given that that sort of thing is not listed in Article I Section 8.

      Neither is Social Security/Medicare, but most “conservatives” don’t want to face that fact.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be perfectly happy to see them close Social Security and Medicare… if they’d give all the money they’ve stolen out of my paychecks for the last forty years back to me. Plus the interest, of course.

        Chances of that happening are fairly remote, however.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you condition your opposition to other unconstitutuonal programs like this?

          Like

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