Trump Budget Could Add Almost $1 Trillion To Federal Deficit In One Year

Donald Trump

Completely turning “conservatism” on its head, President Trump has submitted a budget to Congress which would add $984 billion to the federal deficit next year and would increase the federal deficit over the next 10 years by $7 trillion.

From The New York Times:

President Trump on Monday sent Congress a $4.4 trillion budget with steep cuts in domestic programs and entitlements, including Medicare, and large increases for the military, envisioning deficits totaling at least $7.1 trillion over the next decade.

The blueprint, which has little to no chance of being enacted as written, amounts to a vision statement by Mr. Trump, whose plan discards longtime Republican orthodoxy about balancing the budget, instead embracing last year’s $1.5 trillion tax cut and new spending on a major infrastructure initiative.

According to Bloomberg reporter Laura Litvan, Trump’s budget includes these nuggets:

• 27% cut to State Department
• 34% cut to Environmental Protection Agency
• 14% increase for Pentagon
• $18 billion over 2 years for the Trump wall
• Entitlement cuts of $1.7 trillion over the next decade including $237 billion from Medicare

Trump declared himself the “King of Debt” during the 2016 campaign, and that’s just what he’s delivering.

Of course, the president’s budget is merely a blueprint. There’s no way this will get passed “as-is.”

Trump will sign anything the GOP-led Congress sends him. He just wants points on the board.

White House: Meals On Wheels “Just Not Showing Any Results”

Mick Mulvaney

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney explained at a Thursday afternoon White House briefing why President Trump’s newly released 2018 budget cuts billions from the federal program (Community Development Block Grants “CDBGs”) that funds Meals on Wheels.

As many know, Meals on Wheels has provided vital, life-saving food and support for millions of people for 40 years. For many of Meals On Wheels clients, the food delivered to those folks is often the only meals they may eat. And, the interaction with the delivery folks may be the only social contact some of these seniors may have.

Specific to the LGBT community, many receiving Meals On Wheels services are HIV/AIDS patients who need the nutritional support.

Mulvaney said today that the CDBGs are “just not showing any results.”

“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. I can’t defend that anymore,” Mulvaney said, repeating that Meals on Wheels and associated programs “don’t work.”

“We’re not going to spend [money] on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that they’ve made to people.”

Mulvaney also addressed cuts to after-school programs: “They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no demonstrable evidence they’re actually doing that.”

Trump’s First Budget Beefs Up Defense, Slashes Most Domestic Programs

President Trump released his first budget proposal today, and it’s big on defense spending while sharply cutting just about every other government agency.

Here’s my long and short of it –

Winners:

• Defense Department – hefty 10% increase (additional $52 billion for warships and fighter jets)

• Homeland Security – 7% increase (additional $2.8 billion for 500 Border Patrol agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel)

• Veterans Affairs – 6% increase (additional $4.4 billion primarily for veterans’ health care)

Losers:

• Environmental Protection Agency – cut 31% (cutting ALL climate change research)

• State Department – cut 29% (big cuts at United Nations)

• Agriculture Department – cut 21% (broad cuts to the National Forest System; eliminates loan and grant programs for water and sewage systems)

• Labor Department – cut 21% (scales back job training programs aimed at helping seniors and unemployed)

• Education Department – cut 14% (eliminates before- and after-school and summer programs; Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, which helps college students with the greatest need for financial aid, would also be eliminated)

• Cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services would target the National Institutes of Health, the U.S’s major medical research facility

Would eliminate entirely:

• the National Endowment for the Arts

• the National Endowment for the Humanities

• the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

• the Institute of Museum and Library Services

• the Community Development Block Grant program which funds Meals on Wheels

More info at the New York Times.

Over 120 Generals Protest Trump’s Proposed Cuts To Diplomacy Budgets

Arguing that foreign policy can’t be approached by a purely militaristic stance, more than 120 retired generals have signed and sent a letter to congressional leaders prompted by the news that President Trump plans to propose major cuts to foreign aid and diplomacy programs in his upcoming budget.

Even though Defense Secretary James Mattis said during his stint as commander of U.S. Central Command, ‘If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition,'” President Trump’s view is military might far outweighs diplomacy.

From CBS News:

One signer is Marine Gen. John R. Allen, a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general, former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and 2014-2015 Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL appointed by President Obama.

“Cutting the State Department budget by 30 percent is consigning us to a generational war. We cannot fight our way out of this. It is an issue which can be decided by decisive diplomacy and enlightened development,” General Allen told CBS News.

“If [the president] wants to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism, his only hope of doing it is not through an interminable war on Islam. It is by funding the very things in the State Department that give us the capacity to work with other countries and to help, in the context of development, to change the human condition in places in the world where young men and women are radicalized by virtue of the social environments they are in. They are pushed into the arms of extremists who we must fight.”

Other prominent generals who signed the letter include former NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander and former Army Chief of Staff Gen. William Casey.

US Postal Service to stop Saturday delivery of 1st class mail

From CBS News: After losing $16 billion last year, the postmaster general will make announce Wednesday that the Postal Service intends to halt Saturday delivery of first-class mail by this summer, Aug. 1, CBS News has learned. That means most mailers, letters and catalogs would not arrive on Saturdays, ending a 150-year tradition.

The plan to shrink delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail, while packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still get delivered on Saturdays.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., says the move will save the struggling postal service $2 billion a year. “It’s a proper business decision and (in the) long run, good for the Postal Service and good for Americans.”

The Postal Service has lost $41 billion dollars over the past six years as more and more Americans turned to private shippers, email, and online banking.

(via Towleroad)

With failure of Super Committee, where do across the board cuts come from?

With the expected failure of the congressional Super Committee, the questions now are where are the automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion to come from?

The automatic cuts may not be so devastating on the non-defense spending side of the equation. Both Medicaid and Social Security are spared from the funding reductions and Medicare cuts are limited to 2 percent of the entitlement program’s budget.

Budget hawks looking for significant spending reductions herald the automatic cuts as real deficit-reduction. And entitlement program defenders claim the limited cuts — which include exceptions for the poor and disabled — are less damaging than any that are likely to come out of a supercommittee deal.

Under the automatic cuts, or sequestration, Medicare will lose about $123 billion between 2013 and 2021. But that entire amount will come out of the pockets of doctors and hospitals, not grandma and grandpa.

“If there’s a deal, it could be much worse,” said Eric Kingson, the co-director of Social Security Works. “I’m not going to suggest that a 2 percentage point cut focused on providers may not result in tighter payments for certain kinds of procedures, but it is far less onerous than further raising deductibles on people.”

Watch more from ABC News

Super-committee deadline looms

The congressional super committee, facing a fast-approaching deadline, appears headed toward failure unless negotiations shift dramatically in the final few days.

Multiple sources say Republican leaders have proposed a smaller package of spending cuts and revenues as a ‘Plan B’ if the panel does not succeed, though even this offer appears unlikely to gain much traction.

But the plan, which would reduce the deficit by about $640 billion, was dismissed by Democratic leaders according to two Republican sources. Democrats, according to multiple sources, are insisting on a higher revenue component – such as eliminating oil and gas subsidies – to achieve the “balanced approach” they have sought all along.

Republicans, working with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, offered Democratic leaders this “backup plan” which included about $540 billion in mandatory spending cuts and fees, and only $3 billion in revenue from closing the corporate jets tax break.

That formula breakdowns to tax revenues of only one half of one percent of the total reductions proposed.

Sources say the focus has now shifted to finding a way to lessen the blow of the sequester – the automatic across-the-board cuts scheduled to set in if the super committee does not reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years.

(source)

Sen. Sessions: Millionaires sharing budget pain is “rather pathetic”

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said Tuesday that the idea of the country’s millionaires sharing more of the pain in terms of getting our financial house is “rather pathetic.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, moving to budget issues on the Senate floor, proposed a non-binding resolution that states: “It is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort.”

Citing statistics that say the median income of S&P 500 companies chief financial officers jumped $2.9 million last year alone, the resolution makes note of the fact that 20 percent of all income goes to the top 1% in the United States while median family income has declined by more than $2,500 in the last 10 years.

Sen. Sessions seemed to consider the resolution a delay to getting to the meat of the matter, which seems to be what major cuts can be made to the budget.

Sen. Reid’s spokesman Adam Jentleson made a statement saying “Apparently, nothing irritates Republicans more than the prospect that millionaires and billionaires might be asked to share in the burden of deficit reduction.”