Fellow Patriots:

I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Veronique de Rugy / Feb. 13, 2020

Trump’s Budget Follows in the Footsteps of Giant Spenders

President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget has been released. Generally, budget documents are more of a statement about priorities and aspirations than of anything else.

President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2021 budget has been released. Generally, budget documents are more of a statement about priorities and aspirations than of anything else. This proposal is typical: It’s full of unrealistic assumptions, as well as “savings” that will never happen. It is, in short, a testament to fiscal irresponsibility. Unfortunately, when you use more realistic assumptions and take politics into consideration, you are left with a lot of spending.

What this budget tells us is that this Republican president is a big spender. Under it, the federal government would spend $4.8 trillion in fiscal year 2021. That’s 21% ($850 billon) more than when Trump took office, confirming that Republican presidents can’t be trusted to restore fiscal sanity.

After adjusting 2009 spending levels to remove the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the stimulus bill — which affected both President Barack Obama’s and President George Bush’s budgets, as well as excluding interest paid on the debt — the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards shows that during Trump’s first term, he displayed the same proclivity to jack up spending as his Republicans predecessors. The data shows that Trump increased defense spending in real terms by 18%, with an overall spending growth rate of 10%. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush increased defense spending by 28% and 36%, respectively (and overall spending by 9% and 24%). Compared with their Republican counterparts, Democratic presidents Obama and Bill Clinton look frugal.

Unlike Bush or Reagan, however, Trump has had a booming economy, no new wars and no terrorist attacks since his term began. This context makes the massive increase in spending, along with the $1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2020, even more shocking. With no serious changes, the Congressional Budget Office projects that these annual budget deficits will stay well above $1 trillion in the next 10 years.

To be fair, the president does plan to balance the budget eventually — in 2035. To achieve this goal, Trump proposes some $4.4 trillion in savings over 10 years, which is a step in the right direction. For instance, according to Marc Goldwein at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, this the budget would save Medicare $600 billion, reducing national health expenditures by almost $1 trillion. As Goldwein noted on Twitter, “That means lower premiums and out of pocket costs — don’t demagogue these policies!” Unfortunately, judging by the news headlines and reactions by Democrats in Congress, these savings are likely dead on arrival.

To achieve such savings, some very unrealistic assumptions would need to materialize. For instance, while the economy grew 2.4% in 2017, 2.9% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019, the White House projects that the economy will grow at about 2.8% annually for a decade straight. The budget also counts on interest rates staying low, so as to not massively increase the amount of interest payments that will have to be made. The low interest rate, paired with the planned savings, would lower interest costs by $300 billion. Unfortunately, this is a mirage. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “Using more realistic economic assumptions, the budget deficit would be about $1.2 trillion (3.7 percent of GDP) in 2030,” as opposed to the $261 billion projected by the White House.

Another reason why this budget is unlikely to get through Congress is that the administration focuses its biggest reductions on nondefense discretionary spending. The plan is to cut projected spending on domestic programs by roughly $2 trillion. These “cuts” are mostly to the projected growth of spending increases, not reductions in the actual amount of spending. Still, to make the savings politically viable, the burden should be distributed enough to inspire a sense of shared sacrifice. Instead, the budget plans to extend the 2017 tax cuts at a cost of $1.4 trillion and increases military spending, making the cuts harder to stomach for some.

At the end of the day, and after much spilled ink analyzing the budget proposal, we can count on one thing: This actual budget won’t see the light of day. Instead, Congress and the administration will continue in the footsteps of those who came before them and increase the debt while pretending to be fiscally responsible.

COPYRIGHT 2020 CREATORS.COM

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.