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Trump’s Budget

By Andrew Hull

Another day, another plethora of hysterical reactions from the left over a decision by the Trump Administration. The apocalypse du jour now appears to be the budget, merely a proposal which will likely look nothing like what Congress ultimately passes, set forth by the White House. Of particular interest to liberals are proposed cuts to NPR, the National Endowment for the Arts, and PBS. The Environmental Protection Agency could also face steep cuts, which is sure to draw more carrying on from the usual suspects.

Just to ensure that you understand where we are according to Democrats, Donald Trump and the GOP are out to kill Big Bird, they hate the educational programs on PBS, and they obviously regard all forms of art with complete disdain. Of course, we want dirty air and dirty water, and recycling is for commies and “snowflakes.” We know all the rehearsed lines that are coming by heart at this point, right? That being said, the idea of government funded media outlets having to make do in an effort to get our debt and spending issues out of control isn’t exactly something I and most of my fellow conservatives are likely to lose much sleep over.

As for the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially Hampton Roads, the proposed budget is a bit of a mixed bag. The President, who recently appeared in Newport News, proposes a $54 billion increase in military spending. On the other hand, $73 million in funds for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay in multiple states could be on the chopping block. Congressman Scott Taylor (R-Va Beach), who is on the Appropriations Committee and supported Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House, issued the following statement regarding the positive and negative aspects of the proposal for Tidewater:

“President Trump’s budget proposal is just that, a proposal; Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution reserves the power of the purse strings to Congress. While we only have top line numbers from the President, I am happy to see the defense sequester being pushed away, but unhappy to hear funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup has been cut in the budget. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, the rest of Congress, and the President to ensure completion of our constitutional duty.”

The freshman Representative makes a valid point in saying that this is merely a proposal and that the real decisions regarding the budget will come from the House. What’s more, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Trump, who has touted his negotiation skills early and often, use the classic negotiation technique of coming out with an initial offer that is actually far more drastic than what you’re trying to get. For example, he proposes a roughly 30 percent reduction in the EPA’s budget. He likely knows he won’t get anywhere near that number by the time Congress is through, but he really would be happy with a reduction of around, say, 15 percent.

Reactions from Virginia Democrats were, unsurprisingly, less optimistic than that of Congressman Taylor. Indeed, Governor McAuliffe called the proposed budget an attempt at “keeping misguided political promises” and denounced the reduction in spending on “community development” and “affordable housing,” as well as “the President’s stated goal of gutting the federal workforce.” Of course, a significant portion of that federal workforce lives in Northern Virginia and votes heavily Democrat, a fact that is certainly not lost on McAuliffe and others within his party who seek to retain the governorship and other statewide offices this fall.

All in all, everyone would do well to stop acting like the sky is falling in an effort to stir up their supporters (which always happens when it’s time to work on the budget). There will be give-and-take in this thing as Congress once more slices up the proverbial pie. But if we’re ever going to dig ourselves out of a $20 trillion hole, some tough decisions and cuts are going to have to be made. Think of it as if you were determining your own budget. There are some things which are necessary to spend on (rent, mortgage, food, gas) and some which will inevitably be on the chopping block when you have to draw back (dining out, entertainment, vacations). It’s not fun to cut back on those things that we want, but it is often required. In this case, the government must do the same.