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April 5, 2017 5:48 AM Age: 227 days

Trump’s Budget Speaks Volumes

Category: AC - Billboard, AC RSS, A/F News, A/F Commentary & Opinion, ERM News, ERM Commentary & Opinion, GPG Commentary & Opinion, GPG News, GW & CC Commentary, GW & CC News
Source:  Larry Checco, featured commentator

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There’s a saying in Washington, DC, that goes:  Show me your budget and I’ll tell you your values.

Well, the Trump Administration’s current budget proposal* says a lot about its values, and should Congress enact any semblance of it, will say a lot about the values of our other elected representatives, as well.

But does it reflect the values of our nation?  It certainly doesn’t project these United States of America as a world leader in about every category worthy of leadership.

How can we maintain our leadership in international affairs, as well as science, technology and climate change when both the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are targeted to lose nearly a third of each of their respective budgets?

Or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), down 16.2 percent, including a planned cut of $5.8 billion, or roughly 18 percent, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s premier medical research agency?

Look at the suggested slashes in budgets for cabinet departments:

The Department of Energy down 5.6 percent.  The budget slashes $700 million related to the promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and eliminates an entire office that supports research into new energy technologies.

Space exploration (NASA), down 0.8%.  This includes a $115 million reduction in NASA’s education program and four Earth science missions that look at climate change, solar storms and ocean health.

Department of Education, down 13.5%  This includes important Pell grants for low-income household college students.

Department of Housing and Urban Development, down 13.2%.  The budget would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program -- a $3 billion effort that funds local improvement efforts and supports affordable housing programs.

Critical funding for maintaining our existing national parks and animal refuges, down 17.7%.

Department of Labor, down 20.7%, eliminating the $434 million Senior Community Service Employment Program, which has helped more than 1 million Americans over age 55 find work.

Department of Transportation, down 12.7%.  The Trump budget calls for taking responsibility for air traffic control operations away from the Federal Aviation Administration and giving it to a “non-governmental organization,” most likely a for-profit corporation (putting thousands of Federal employees out of work).

Tax collection (U.S. Treasury), down  4%.  The IRS budget is down about $1 billion from its peak in 2010.  Since then, the agency has lost more than 17,000 employees.  As a result, the chances of getting audited have rarely been so low—and the loss of taxable income to the Treasury so high, this in a time of desperately needed revenues.

Department of Agriculture, down 20.7%.  The budget would eliminate the International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which uses U.S. agricultural commodities and other financial assistance to support school feeding and child nutrition projects around the world, particularly for girls.

Department of Commerce, down 15.7%, eliminating more than $250 million in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants, including the National Sea Grant Program, that helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, maintain healthy water and fisheries and curb invasive species.

Also, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the budgets of organization such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which helps to fund PBS and NPR), and the Corporation for National and Community Services (which funds Americorps and Senior Corps) are all on the chopping block for either near or total elimination.

On the upside of the Trump budget are the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and the Veterans Administration with proposed increases of 10%, 6.8%, and 5.9%, respectively—plus $1.5 billion to begin construction on the border wall DJT promised Mexico would pay for. 

Quite frankly, if the other agency cuts go through as proposed there won’t be much of a country left to defend, or to keep people out of.

Folks, it’s one thing to run a company into the ground, it’s quite another to do the same to an entire country!

Whether it’s its... budget priorities

... its inability to keep campaign promises,

...disrespect for others,

...less than trustworthy pronouncements,

...not to mention its declared desire to deconstruct the administrative state or its unseemly entanglements with Russia...

...this administration appears totally divorced from—or cares not a whit for—political reality (domestically or internationally), the rules of good governance or the institutions and people that have allowed this fragile experiment called Democracy in America to survive for nearly 250 years.  As imperfect as it may be.

 

"Uncharted waters" doesn’t begin to describe our current political situation.

 

* Source of agency budget cuts: Newsday

 

Contents Copyright (c) 2017 by Larry Checco - All Rights Reserved

 

 

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