As populist budget plans go, President Trump has delivered one that is certain to make his supporters happy and politicians terrified. For that, he deserves a great deal of kudos. When Nancy Pelosi says things like, “This budget is a really a slap in the face of the future,” she clearly doesn’t understand that it’s a slap intended to hit DC itself.
That’s the good news. This trend of doing the things he promised is arguably the most endearing part of the Trump’s early presidency. He said he was going to build a wall and he’s budgeting for it. He said he was going to boost the military and he’s finding the money in government agencies. As The Hill details:
Unveiled earlier in the day, Trump’s 2018 budget outline attempts to make good on the president’s campaign promise to boost the military and border security efforts while dramatically shrinking domestic programs across almost all other agencies. The proposed reductions include a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency, 28 percent to the State Department, 18 percent to the Health and Human Services Department and 16 percent to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Now, let’s discuss the future. I’ve always been critical of Trump for being a “big government” guy and this budget doesn’t change that criticism. He’s making cuts to pay for things he promised, not because he’s trying to rein in DC. However, it can be used in the future as a blueprint to demonstrate major cuts in departments and agencies will not result in the end of their little bureaucratic worlds. Global warming isn’t going to send hurricanes ripping through Kansas. They’ll have to tighten up their belts, but they’ll survive. Even the agencies and departments that have no reason to exist such as Education and Environment will still continue. They’ll find a way. After all, they’re still running their individual departments with more money than many small countries use to run their entire governments.
This brings us back to the question of whether or not it’s good to up spending on the military and the border wall. As much as I’d like to say that we don’t need to spend the additional money, I can’t. The fiscally conservative principles of Federalism must be applied in stages. That means that the wasteful spending of the past combined with poor tax plans must still be reconciled. The borders need to be secured and the military needs to be brought up to snuff.
The question of whether or not Trump’s populist budget is justifiable won’t be answered this year. We’ll need to see what cuts can be made elsewhere. We’ll need to determine with portion of the administrative state can be killed off altogether. Most importantly, we need to make sure he doesn’t give into his big government leanings and continue big spending after his military and border security promises are fulfilled.
The President is making cuts to initiate his plans. Will he have the discipline to keep cutting and then to stop adding to spending once his projects are compete? If so, the slap in the face the Democrats are describing will only sting them and their big government goals.