What is it that so maddens them?
For the Left, a Trump policy — any Trump policy — will enrage.
But for politicians of all stripes, the real issue is power. Less money being doled out to the bureaucracy — ostensibly and in some times truly for the benefit of constituents — means less power to be wielded to buy off constituents. Fewer people receiving largess means fewer donors and fewer voters receiving special treatment for political gain.
The president has put forth a budget that calls for commonsense measures that strike at the heart of federal power and reprioritizes it towards its core constitutional functions.
Under his plan, the non-defense portions of the federal government will be asked to make do with less. The Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs will receive increased funding, while practically every other department and agency will see its budget decline, reflecting a seismic shift in priorities.
Under the president’s plan wasteful and ineffective programs will be zeroed out.
The size of the federal workforce will shrink.
In conjunction with prior executive orders signed by the president, rules and regulations will be slashed.
This is part and parcel with chief strategist Steve Bannon’s comment about the president’s desire to “deconstruct” the administrative state.
In the months ahead we will find out whether the Congress is committed to the agenda the president ran on.
The federal government has followed a political law of physics for far too long: That which is growing shall continue to grow indefinitely.
To see this law be broken is something the Left cannot abide. Will Republicans put their money where their mouth is and follow through on the fiscal conservative promises they have made to voters? President Trump has given them a sorely needed test.
In the months ahead we will find out whether the Congress is committed to the agenda the president ran on. It would be both a symbolic and substantive victory for not only conservatism but the American people.
To the detractors of this budget blueprint, I would humbly submit five points worth considering:
Catastrophic? I think not
To those who would assert that such budget cuts will be catastrophic, was the country falling apart five, 10 or 15 years ago? The president’s budget slashes expenditures in bureaucracies that in many cases have grown year after year. Every cut necessarily will offend some constituency. Given that that is the case, can we never cut? Can we never reallocate federal funds to higher and better uses as dictated by the people? Should not every taxpayer dollar have to be justified and treated with the utmost care? The notion that the government ought to have the first claim on our dollars, rather than the people who earned it ought to be dispelled.
To those who would say that essential programs are going to be cut, is not an essential problem of government that people are forced at the point of a government gun to fund things that violate their beliefs? Given that that is the case, would it not be better for government to do less, leaving it to the taxpayer to fund causes as they see fit — and freely and more efficiently to boot? If such programs are so desirable, surely the private sector can fund analogous programs — and manage them better.
Holding representatives accountable
Given that the American people are mistrustful of their elected representatives left and right, why would we want to continue to empower unelected individuals in the various bureaucracies by growing their budgets with more dollars and thus power? The administrative state is a convenient way for legislators to shirk their duties and defer decisions plainly in their purview to others. The people’s representatives should represent and be directly accountable to the people when it comes to the policies that affect their livelihood.
Implementing Trump’s agenda
Does less money to the federal bureaucracies not mean less chance for waste, abuse, and deviation from the America Fist agenda? The president’s policies are largely anathema to those who have worked in government for decades. If there is less money sloshing around with specific directions attached to it, does not that force bureaucrats to focus on the president’s programs rather than seeking to subvert them? Less money in the administrative state means less opportunity for mischief, and fewer people to carry out said mischief. Also worth noting, some of the arts/media-related institutions the president is targeting put out a consistently leftist message. Government should not be in the business of supportive progressive propaganda.
A more peaceful world
Lastly, do not the growing threats worldwide compel us to back up a belief in “peace through strength” through a military build-up? Think of the symbolic transition from monies focused towards diplomacy — and in particular a State Department teeming with people hostile to the president’s agenda — versus those focused on building more planes, ships, weapons and cyber warfare capabilities. We have appeased regimes from Iran to North Korea for years, and this appeasement has only encouraged them to grow more hostile. The president’s policy of tweeting loudly and carrying a big stick, would seem to be a welcome change.
Ben Weingarten is Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The Federalist, Newsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.