- - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Donald Trump is a different kind of president and his spending plan for the nation is a different kind of budget. With U.S. debt at $20 trillion (that’s with a T, not a mere B), it’s a budget that offers a way off the path to insolvency. With Democrats determined to thwart his presidency, to tear every proposal to shreds, he will get a test of his leadership to win over spendthrift Republicans.

President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget debuted on Tuesday, promising to boost defense spending by $54 billion and contain certain exploding entitlements promoted over the eight years of the Obama administration. “We are going to measure our compassion and success by actually helping people and by respecting taxpayers who pay for it in the first place,” says Mick Mulvaney, the tough new White House budget director.

Defenders of the way things were are noisily lamenting cuts to the food stamps, Medicaid and other anti-poverty programs that together total $3.6 trillion, which if they survive would balance the budget by 2027. Red is the favorite ink of Sen. Charles Schumer, the leader of the Senate Democrats, and he was quick to defend out-of-control spending. The president’s budget, he says, reveals “his true colors,” and indeed it does, and for that future generations would applaud. But not Mr. Schumer. “[Mr. Trump‘s] populist campaign rhetoric was just a Trojan horse to execute long-held, hard-right policies that benefit the ultra wealthy at the expense of the middle class.”

But Mr. Schumer and his Democrats are flogging a dead mule. Barack Obama expanded the food stamp program from 28 million to more than 46 million stamp collectors. Shrinking the program to its original size would save $193 billion over 10 years. Despite the improved economy, 44 million Americans were still collecting food stamps in 2016. Mr. Obama added 14 million Americans to Medicaid rolls, and President Trump wants to send block grants to the 50 states, where health care dollars can be managed with greater efficiency, saving $860 billion. Mr. Schumer does not seem to understand that the middle class pays the bill when entitlement-seekers take freebies rather than work. Americans elected Donald Trump to correct this.

The Obama administration further saddled Americans with new regulatory costs that amount to $15,000 annually per family. The Trump budget envisions cuts of 35 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency, which had become a superauthority dedicated to punishing Americans for exploiting the gifts of the natural world to enable everyday Americans to live like, well, senators. The key to Mr. Trump’s budget is a growing economy. That will require taking the handcuffs off U.S. business. If growth can reach 3 percent or higher, his promises to “make America great again” with its unique economic engine will likely make road kill of complaints Democrats are strewing in his path.

As a companion to spending cuts and deregulation, the president is banking on stimulating growth with tax cuts to put more money in the pockets of businesses and individuals whence it came, and where it can be used to hire workers who will buy the things Americans need — and want. Watching Republicans twiddle their thumbs while the president strains at the wheel, Americans for Prosperity announced last week a multimillion-dollar campaign to hold congressional feet to the fire to encourage them to act on tax reform this year, before they spend momentum for change.

The Trump budget is a bold attempt to give Americans the economic boost they voted for in November. Together with deregulation and tax reform, it’s the antidote to the poison administered by Mr. Obama and his administration over the past eight years.

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