By Tyler Bauer
On Monday, President Trump sent his budget plan for 2020 to Congress. This in itself isn’t noteworthy. However, the contents of the budget are noteworthy.
President Trump’s proposed 2020 budget is the largest budget in our country’s history, calling for a record-breaking $4.75 trillion in spending. (The national debt is over $22 trillion, by the way. This budget won’t help.)
So, how does one spend $4.75 trillion dollars? Mainly on the military. Our military spending (which already exceeds the military spending of the next seven countries combined) would be increased by five percent under Trump’s proposed budget. As I’ve said before, military spending is – and has been for quite some time – at an insanely excessive level. Last year’s military spending amounted to $716 billion (far more than in the comparison linked to above). The military was expecting a 2.4% increase on last year’s spending, totaling $733 billion. President Trump opted to more than double this increase in his proposal, setting aside $750 billion for the military in the 2020 budget.
President Trump also set aside an additional $8.6 billion for the wall on our southern border with Mexico. There are many problems with allocating $8.6 billion for the border wall. First, $8.6 billion won’t be nearly enough to cover the cost of the wall. According to Cato, just constructing the wall will cost nearly $60 billion. This doesn’t include the cost of maintaining the wall, patrolling the wall, and more. Second, a wall won’t really fix the issue. I may sound like a broken record by this point, but there’s a much easier solution that will actually address the problem. For the sake of brevity, I’ll link to that solution here. Third, I don’t think the border is even an issue. I think the border is just a representation of other issues, like drugs, crime, and the changing of the populace. If the wall mattered, President Trump would do something to actually address it. And, even if President Trump was addressing the wall directly, it still isn’t really an issue. It’s just manufactured outrage.
If there’s any good news to be taken from Trump’s proposed budget, it’s this: President Trump has proposed cuts to social spending. (I’ve gone into detail in the past regarding why social spending is far too high – click here for more.) While I welcome cuts in any area, the cuts in social spending won’t be large enough to make a difference in the deficit and debt. Any cuts in social spending will be more than made up for when it comes to spending on the military and the wall. Furthermore, deeper reading will reveal that President Trump isn’t actually cutting spending; he’s cutting spending increases. In other words, rather than taking money away from programs, President Trump is decreasing the amount of extra money to be given to programs.
It’s unlikely that President Trump’s budget will actually be accepted and enacted. After all, Congress controls spending, not the president. Therefore, President Trump’s proposed budget is nothing more than a suggestion. Some things – like the proposed military budget – might remain in the budget. Others, like cutting spending increases on social programs, are less likely to remain – especially now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives. One thing is for sure, though. President Trump continues to spend more than any president in our country’s history, all the while growing deficits and the debt.
For someone who is supposedly a fiscal conservative, President Trump sure does love to spend your money carelessly.