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.