by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[E]ven if Trump’s budget is not going to become law, it offers an important opportunity to reshape the fiscal landscape.
Let’s start by giving credit where credit is due: Trump’s proposal would reduce the growth in federal spending by $3.6 trillion over ten years, resulting in a balanced budget by 2027. Yes, this projection relies on unrealistic levels of economic growth and cuts that are never going to happen, but it still makes Donald Trump the only president even to aspire to balancing the budget since Bill Clinton in 2001.
In many ways, Trump’s plan shows that, like presidents before him, he has discovered he can’t actually balance the budget simply by eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse.” The only way to truly reduce federal spending is to reduce federal spending. And that means cutting programs that are popular, supported by powerful special interests, or both. Hence the screams of pain and outrage.
Trump’s budget challenges the Washington notion that, once enacted, every program — no matter how unnecessary, ill conceived, or unsuccessful — is forever sacrosanct.