The Republican view of the world is in their budget

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The Republican view of the world is in their budget.

(1) Members of the GOP say they believe that each person is responsible for their own place in our society. Individuals are encouraged by the Republican Party to work to secure the benefits of society for themselves, their families, and for those who are unable to take care of themselves. Here they are changing the budget to match their philosophy. The Trump administration is championing an evidence-based approach to budgetary decisions.

“We are no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters during a May 22 briefing on the budget. “We’re going to measure compassion and success by the number of people we help get off of those programs to get back in charge of their own lives. We’re not going to measure our success by how much money we spend but by how many people we actually help.” To me this smells a bit like social-Darwinism.

(2) The GOP believes government should be limited to doing things for people they can’t do for themselves, and that govenment should be more local than federal. They say Democrats have pushed for more centralized power – eroding local govenment. Here is their budget proposal to do just that.

Other spending reductions will come from major changes to the federal retirement system. Those changes, which Mulvaney said accounted for one of the largest areas of cost savings in the 2018 budget proposal, would eliminate the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for employees in the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS), cut the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) COLA by 0.5 percent and require higher employee contributions to their annuities, among other changes.
(3) The GOP believes peace and freedom can be protected only if America maintains a force strong enough to deter any aggressor. And that we must defeat terrorism. Again they are true to their philosophy.

The Homeland Security Department is one of the only civilian agencies that could receive a spending bump under the President’s 2018 budget.Trump’s proposal includes $2.6 billion in new infrastructure, technology and personnel to begin the President’s priorities along the southern border.That total includes more than $300 million to recruit and hire additional border patrol agents, officers, investigators, attorneys and support staff at Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.The Veterans Affairs Department will also see a budget boost.

 

A USA Today story summarizes the winners and losers

Winners

Pentagon: The $639 billion slated for military spending would allow the Pentagon to bolster its ranks by more than 56,000 troops, buy more helicopters and trucks for the Army, boost the Navy’s fleet and pay for more stealth warplanes for the Air Force. In addition, the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the nation’s nuclear stockpile, would get an 11.4% increase, while other programs on that department face steep cuts.

Social Security and Medicare: Although Medicare and the non-disability portion of Social Security are the largest cost-drivers in the federal budget, Trump does not want to break his campaign promise to protect them. Trump also promised not to cut Medicaid, but his budget would get a large chunk of its proposed savings from the health care program for the poor. The president also proposes cuts to the disability program run through the Social Security Administration, but the White House argues that’s not what most people think of as Social Security so it’s not a broken promise.

Border security: The budget follows through on Trump’s promises to crack down on illegal immigration by building a wall along the southwest border with Mexico and strengthening immigration enforcement throughout the country. The Department of Homeland Security would get big increases to catch, imprison and deport undocumented immigrants, hire 1,500 new federal immigration agents, and expand and improve the border wall. The Department of Justice would also get more money to hire 75 new immigration judges to help clear the years-long backlogs in the nation’s immigration courts.

New parents: The budget includes Ivanka Trump’s top priority – a new program allowing new parents to take up to six weeks off after birth or adoption of a child. The program is expected to cost about $25 billion over 10 years and will benefit about 1.3 million people, according to the White House. The administration says it would be paid for by eliminating waste in the nation’s unemployment insurance program.

School vouchers: Trump’s budget includes a $1.4 billion boost for school choice programs. That includes more money for charter schools and $1 billion more for districts to adopt a system of “student-based budgeting and open enrollment” program enabling federal, state and local funding to follow students to the school of his or her choice. Critics say this “portability” could shift federal funding out of neighborhood public schools.

Losers

Farmers: Rural America is kind of an unexpected target given how heavily those areas voted for Trump. The president’s budget proposes sweeping cuts to crop insurance and other farm support programs and a range of new fees for services like food inspection. Farm groups also oppose proposed cuts in food stamps, which provide billions of dollars for recipients to buy food farmers provide.

EPA: Trump’s budget proposes cuts to a lot of federal agencies, but EPA gets hit worst with a cut of more than 30%. The budget proposal would zero out restoration programs for the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay and make major cuts to grants to states to implement their own environmental programs

Able-bodied poor: “We are not kicking anybody off of any program who really needs it,” said OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Tuesday, but the budget seeks major cuts in social safety net programs on the theory that there are people getting food assistance or disability payments who should be working instead. This means major cuts to food stamps, cuts to Social Security disability programs and new work requirements for people receiving federal assistance.

Federal employees: Retirement benefits for federal workers would take one of the biggest hits. Trump wants to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and increase government employees’ contributions to their retirement funds. The White House says that will bring government benefits more in line with those offered by private employers.

Tax reform: Republicans are counting using a special process to overhaul the tax code that does not require any Democratic support but does require Congress to first adopt a budget blueprint. But budget expert Stan Collender said the dramatic cuts in Trump’s budget make it less likely Congress can agree on a budget. Without one, Democrats would be able to filibuster any tax plan.

2011 bipartisan budget agreement: Trump wants to spend more on the military than lawmakers agreed to under a bipartisan deal reached in 2011 after lawmakers could not agree on how to reduce the deficit. The resulting 2011 deficit reduction law set spending caps on defense and non-defense spending. That law would have to be changed to meet Trump’s request for military spending.