Time to set commonsense priorities

Trump’s budget challenges Washington’s failed political orthodoxy

It’s the first federal budget ever written by a businessman.

 

It felt great just to type that sentence.


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Of course, President Donald Trump’s first proposed budget – with sharp cuts to pet programs that have vocal supporters – will send shockwaves through a government that never met a spending idea it didn’t like. It won’t be easy to take on entrenched interests, and the president won’t get everything he wants.

As he well knows, that’s the nature of negotiation.

But what a great place to start.

Mr. Trump’s budget bolsters defense spending by 10 percent after our Armed Forces’ apparatus was badly neglected over the past eight years – even as the “leading from behind” diminution of American influence and leadership led to a proportionately more dangerous world.

The usual suspects will howl at the budget’s notion of cutting funding for such sacred cows as the National Endowment for the Arts. But while the idea of leaving a thriving culture to posterity is shared by all, can tax dollars be justified for that when we’re also leaving our offspring $20 trillion in operating debt and some $100 trillion in future unpaid-for entitlements?

As Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul notes, Washington borrows nearly $1 million a minute.

Nor is the federal bureaucracy – represented and protected so well by an entrenched, careerist, ruling elite in Congress – going to like having itself cut back: 12 of 15 Cabinet agencies would be trimmed by the Trump budget.

Fans of the motion picture Dave will remember fondly that an ordinary citizen acting as president brings in his accountant friend to cut the federal budget using good, old-fashioned common sense. Guess what: We finally have an actual president doing it.

Again, the various programs’ constituents will cry foul. And in some cases, they will be right. But when they start talking about cuts being mean or “draconian” – we’ll bet doughnuts to dollars they’ll trot out that word very quickly – just ask yourself: How kind and compassionate is it to leave our children and grandchildren with a $20 trillion (and growing) tab for our overspending and our inability to set priorities and live within our means?

Truth is, the cutting doesn’t go nearly far enough: With so-called entitlement spending – such things as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – making up two-thirds of the federal budget, it’s unwise not to try to slow that runaway train. Unfortunately, candidate Trump promised it would be hands off on entitlements.

We feel that’s a huge mistake. Small changes in entitlements now could save trillions later – and maybe even save the programs themselves, which are in a fiscal death spiral.

Folks, priorities need to be set even in fat times. Until we balance the budget and start running a surplus, setting spending priorities will be painful.

The only question is, do we want to avoid all pain and just bequeath it to our young?

Val White 5 months ago

We cannot leave anything undone for the younger generation.  They have been brought up with the wrong morals and ethics as evidenced by their violent, disrespectful and hateful behavior.  They must have "safe" zones and special words if they're offended.


Do we want to leave things for these snowflakes to try to fix.

Val White 5 months ago

Perhaps Mr. Trump does not want to touch the entitlements until he gets the budget taken care of, the economy on the right track and our military strengthened so he can get a better idea of just how and where to cut back on the fraud, waste and abuse of the entitlements.


I don't think he wants to just walk in and randomly cut them without making sure the cuts will not be disastrous for those who legitimately need the assistance.


The OpEd is correct though, they do need to be cut.

Dee STAFFORD 5 months ago
Ahh.  An editorial that is caviar for the intellect and manna for the soul.
ET Links 5 months ago
Medicare and social security are not entitlements for the people that paid in to these programs their entire working career without any choice in the matter.
Steven Tahan 5 months ago
No, they are entitlements disguised as savings. They were designed that way counter those who would try to cut or abolish them.  Remember that taxes on current workers pays benefits for current retirees.  Classic Ponzi scheme.
Roland SASSER 5 months ago
Let the negotiations begin! We need a bare bones budget and except for defense everyone gives a little. As a federal government we have lived way beyond our means for too long! If you don't agree, just look at our national debt.
Jim Hall 5 months ago
The number of federal bureaucrats it takes to get one dollar to a person who is genuinely in need is  the problem.  The size of  the machine and its inefficiency.  You can't me fast and lean with a bloated belly.

Everyone that is hired hires  at least one more to do their work.  A broken system that buys loyalty and votes.

Upper management needs a house cleaning.
Michael Ryan 5 months ago
We do not use "entitlement" as a four-letter word here. Medicare and Social Security are indeed entitlements, and purely so -- PRECISELY because those who have paid in are entitled to their receipts.
Steven Tahan 5 months ago
P-O-N-Z-I.  There's a guy from New York in jail for doing that.

More

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:05

Last letter not so crazy

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:02

The message is for the media

Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:00

Keep ambulance service

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