I sat down this morning knowing I wanted to write about Donald J Trump’s new budget proposal sent to Congress yesterday. I dreaded the task.
First, even with others doing most of the work by constructing category pluses amd minuses complete with “pie chart,” sifting through what’s important and what’s not in a presidential budget is real work (something many of us avoid whenever we can).
Second, all presidential budgets in modern times have been DOA (Dead on Arrival) on Capitol Hill. They are politically (and fiscally) un-realistic and are prepared more as campaign documents than anything else.
Sometimes in the past (believe it or not) they are DOA because they want to spend much more money on helping the poor, the needy among us.
That is NOT the case in the present instance.
Third, no president can tell you without a teleprompter what’s in his budget with any specificity (Bill Clinton, the wonk, came the closest to being able to do that). And frequently when a president does discover some specific item that someone else has written into his budget he realizes he doesn’t agree with it. My favorite story about that centers on Ronald Reagan.
One year Reagan read in the newspaper about a young boy who desperately needed a liver transplant but his family couldn’t afford it. Reagan sent his personal check for a thousand dollars to the boy, an act that was not publicized by the White House but by the boy’s family.
The same year, Reagan’s budget sent to Congress called for the elimination of a small office at the National Insitutes of Health which would save three hundred thousand dollars, an office whose purpose was to put organ donors together with those who needed such transplants.
Reagan was like that. Show him a specific case of need and you thought he was the kindest, most genrerous person around. But when it was simply a case of his political ideology calling for the “willy nilly” reduction of “big Government” his budget often callously reflected the opposite.
Which brings us (finally-whew) to the new Trump budget. There is no bleeding heart hidden behind an attack on the “safety net” here.
For all the reasons I dreaded writing about this budget, that was the most important. How do you write for the upteenth time the same thing – that this president is an ignorant “con man” and liar and thus a threat to the safety of our Republic?
And then, this morning, I read a column in the Washington Post about this Budget and its putative maker by Eugene Robinson, an experienced newsman and a writer who has the knack of reducing complexity to the basic level of understanding needed. In this case, the emotional level of what Trump’s budget seeks to do not for, but against the overall well being of our Country.
So I’m going to let Robinson do the work for me.
His first sentence reads” “The Trump administration is an aberration, an outrage, a threat to the nation’s very soul. But most of all, it’s a great big fraud.”
For the full column, here is the link:
Yes. this budget thankfully is DOA on Capitol Hill. The fiscal senttlement recently agreed on (and signed by Trump) to keep the Government open is the outline Congress will use to write the specifics. The settlement raises spending caps by about $300 billion over two years. But the “Safety net” as well as the military gets an increase. And the next vote on the debt limit is postponed until after November’s midterm elections.
Let us hope this Congressional sanity is reflected in the Immigration Debate which has just begun in the Senate.
Let us hope.