Tightening the US purse strings
Trump’s lightweight budget may face some heavy opposition — including from within his own party
US President Donald Trump took "skinny to a new, anaemic level" with his new budget, according to wire agency Reuters.
Weighing in at just 53 pages, the budget is in the flyweight division and devoid of detail, making it the lightest-weight budget of the past 40 years.
What it lacked in detail, it made up for in decisiveness.
Trump hacked into almost every area of spending except for those linked to the military. The biggest loser was the Environmental Protection Agency, unpopular with the energy industry and with capitalists in general.
Its budget was hacked by no less than 31%.
Also scheduled to be cut back was the state department (-29%), a move in keeping with Trump’s isolationist agenda — though it is unclear how his determination to confront North Korea, Mexico and the global trade regime will be undertaken on trimmed-
State programmes in agriculture and labour were slashed by 21%, while justice lost 20% of its funding.
The biggest beneficiaries were all security related, with an increase of 9% planned for defence, 7% for homeland security and 6% for veterans affairs.
The New York Times wrote how Trump’s budget cuts would hurt many in the Trump heartland who depend on federal programmes that ameliorate job cuts.
"Americans are trying to parse what the changes to the government’s spending plan might mean for them. It is only a proposal, an opening bid in what is likely to be a protracted public argument over national priorities. But it is important because it signals what the new president is thinking, his wish list for the size and shape of government."
The article cited several examples of such cuts, including the defunding of the Appalachian regional commission, founded in 1965 to strengthen growth "in a 13-state swathe of the country".
The article points out: "Of the 420 counties in the commission’s footprint, 399 voted for Mr Trump."
Trump might dismiss The New York Times as the progenitor of fake news, but at some point his constituency will feel the pain and the worm will turn.
The lightweight budget might face some heavy-weight opposition from within Trump’s own party.