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The Trump Budget

My guess is that some of my friends might expect that I will rail about the social service cuts in the budget proposal sent by President Trump to the Congress. After all, while Chairing the Florida Senate Appropriations Subcommittee funding social services and criminal justice, {roughly 1/3 of the entire budget of the fourth largest state), I was known for supporting programs serving the needy, disabled and the elderly. Working with Governors Reuben Askew and Bob Graham, we passed landmark legislation in all of those areas, of which I am still proud today.

But all the rhetoric about Trump's budget is really just that--rhetoric. Consider the following:

  • Entitlements. Social Security and Medicare, plus interest on the Debt total 1/2 of the entire budget. Trump does not touch this, which becomes one of the few campaign promises he appears to be keeping. More to come on this.

  • Defense: Trump wants to increase this by $600 Billion, which is more than the agencies have even requested. Trump's Wall Street staff are given the credit for this.

  • Everything Else: From education to veterans to Medicaid to the Wall to Obama Care to Amtrack. This is roughly 1/4 of the entire budget. This has been cut dramatically, primarily by shifting the programs to the states with fewer dollars in block grants. Wait till you hear the state governors reaction to this shift. These are the Democrat programs.

  • This assumes a 3% rate of growth, which is a staggering 1/3 increase over Obama's rate of growth (which in turn was driven by a skyrocketing stock market over the last 8 years). Trump says it can be done by repealing regulations, tax reform and budget restraints. Hmm.

  • Balanced Budget and Tax Cuts for individuals and corporations: These are the back breakers.

So in summary, Trump has inherited a tepid budget that has been whittling away at the deficit. He has exceeded the Pentagon request on about 1/4 of the budget. He has a massive cut of the other 1/4. And he has falsely fudged economic growth to cover the tax cuts and balancing the budget while in office. Looks like "Blue Smoke and Mirrors."

What's missing? Like most other Presidents, Trump has "No Mas" to tackle 1/2 of the budget--Entitlements. President Ronald Reagan was the only President in recent memory that had the guts to do that and he succeeded with the bi-partisan support of liberal stalwarts like our own Senator Claude Pepper. This is the land of "Profiles in Courage." Nobody home.

Again, lessons from history, largely ignored today.

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