Right From the Start
All hell has broken loose amongst the OMG chorus as President Donald Trump has proposed a series of cuts, including elimination of a handful of federal programs, as an offset to needed increases in military spending. Eight years of President Barack Obama, like other progressives before him, has left the military decimated. Richard Sisk writing in the February 17 edition of Military.com noted:
Only three of the Army’s 58 Brigade Combat Teams are ready to fight: 53 percent of Navy aircraft can’t fly; the AirForces is 723 fighter pilots short; and the Marine Corps needs 3,000 more troops.
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“’The Air Force currently is the smallest, the oldest, the most poorly maintained and the “least ready in our history,’ said Gen. Stephen Wilson, vice chief of staff of the Air Force.
“’Your Air Force needs Congress’ support to repeal the Budget Control Act,’ he said. ‘We need to act now before it’s too late.’
“Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said 3,000 more Marines are urgently needed to bolster a force that is ‘insufficiently manned, trained and equipped.’
In addition, the Marine Corps faces a $9 billion backlog for infrastructure, he said. The Corps also needs more amphibious ships, or ‘We will find our Marine Corps optimized for the past,’ he said.”
The fault lies with a Republican Congress that accepted a sucker’s bet in the Budget Control Act requiring the military to reduce spending by the same amount as other elements of the budget – regardless of the consequences. The fault also lies with Mr. Obama for pursuing a program of “peace through equivocation” which assured our enemies that they need not fear America and our friends that we will abandon them at the first sign of stress. That program was accentuated by the deterioration of our military capability and preparedness.
Naivete in the strong has always been exploited by evil doers. And that is precisely where we find ourselves in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Sudan as Muslim extremists extend their misery to every corner of the world. That is precisely where we find ourselves as Russia seeks to engulf the Ukraine and arms evil regimes in Iran and Syria. And that is precisely where we find ourselves as China extends its reach in Asia threatening the security of Japan, The Philippines and Viet Nam and turns a blind eye to the nuclear armed maniac that runs North Korea.
Mr. Obama has compounded the situation by nearly doubling the national debt to just under $20 Trillion. Rising interest rates applied to this debt threaten to further erode spending including military spending for the foreseeable future. It falls to Mr. Trump to find a way to finance the increases necessary for the military while minimizing the need for additional deficit spending. As a result, Mr. Trump has proposed spending cuts, program eliminations, hiring freezes and budget proposals from his senior people showing alternatives to reduce spending agency by agency.
Last Friday’s Wall Street Journal carried a partial list of programs to be deleted and the annual savings attendant to their elimination:
African Development Foundation $30 Million
Appalachia Regional Commission $146 Million
Corporation for National and Community Service $788 Million
Corporation for Public Broadcasting $445 Million
U.S. Trade and Development Agency $60 Million
Legal Services Corporation $385 Million
National Endowment for the Arts $148 Million
National Endowment for the Humanities $148 Million
US Interagency Council on Homelessness $3.5 Million
These programs can be put into three categories:
Unproductive/Ineffective: African Development Foundation, Appalachia Regional Commission and Interagency Council on Homelessness. It would be difficult if not impossible for anyone to point to a single program within these agencies’ arena that has made any significant contribution. At best they have provided government jobs for reliable Democrats and spread money to private groups that proof to be reliably Democrat.
Unnecessary: U.S. Trade and Development Agency that can be reliably funded by those businesses that benefit from the services they provide in international markets. It is corporate welfare at its worst.
Taxpayer funded propagandists for Liberals/Progressives: Corporation for National and Community Service, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Legal Services Corporation.
The Corporation for National and Community Service most famously provided substantial funds for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) which was exposed as a rabble rousing, liberal/progressive agency during the 2008 presidential election. While ACORN provided services to the poor in communities, they were secondary to its political purposes. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting provides both entertainment programming and news – the news of course being deliberately slanted towards the liberal/progressive bias. While Democrats like to talk about Sesame Street and Big Bird as products of public broadcasting the fail to note that these programs are so successful that they are capable of not only self funding (Big Bird generates nearly $1 Billion annually in sales of products, games and mementos) but supporting other elements of public broadcasting, they deny the political biases so patently obvious to anyone who has listened to their “news” programs.
The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for Humanities have their own biases as demonstrated by the artists, professors and institutions they fund – almost universally liberal/progressive. Think of how often they fund something like Maplethorpe’s “Piss Christ” (a crucifix in a jar of urine – how deep and original), or distributing books on Islam across the country vs. art depicting Christian history or distributing books on abortion alternatives and you understand that both of these “endowments are reserved for liberal/progressive thought.
I reluctantly included the Legal Services Corporation in this list because there are actual day-to-day legal services needed by the poor and are often provided by Legal Services. However, Legal Services has a habit of engaging in high-profile political battles – always on the side of Liberals/Progressives – which should not be funded by taxpayers. A change in their charter and a reduction of funding targeted to the real needs of the poor would be preferred.
Democrats have proven to excel at capturing movements intended for legitimated causes and subrogating their raison d’être into advocacy for Democrats. Think of advocacy on behalf of the poor. The War on Poverty created by President Lyndon Johnson (D) was created over fifty years ago. According to The Heritage Foundation in a September 2014 report taxpayers have spent nearly $22 Trillion in its first fifty years without any significant progress being made on the percentage of the population living in poverty. In fact the percentage of America’s population living in poverty grew from 13.5 percent to 14.2 percent under Mr. Obama – an increase of approximately six million people living in poverty. While the War on Poverty has not improved the lives of the poor it has provided a sizeable population of government funded employees who reliably cross “T’s”, dot “I’s” and check boxes without ever providing a path out of poverty. And those jobs are routinely filled by those who eschew private employment in favor of low risk government employment and who are reliably Democrat.
Think of the public employee unions who were formed to ensure employment rights for government workers but has now morphed into the primary funding arm of the Democrat Party and which exacts its funding by siphoning off a percentage of workers’ wages under mandatory contributions. At this point in time it is difficult to tell whether public employee unions are a part of the Democrat Party or that the Democrat Party is simply an advocacy front for the public employee unions.
Think of the National Organization of Women formed to ensure equal treatment of women and now just another branch of the Democrat Party that ignores abusers of women like former President Bill Clinton (D) but routinely condemns less offensive conduct on the part of Republicans.
And who remained studiously silent while Ivanka Trump was attacked not for her own deeds or accomplishment but rather for those of her father. Or the NAACP and other African-American advocacy groups taken over by race hustlers like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton who have become wealthy, powerful and reliably Democrat advocates while pretending to care for minorities and the poor.
So, in the end, this is a prime opportunity to not only cut spending and eliminate needless and ineffective programs but it is also an opportunity to reduce the number of taxpayer funded Democrat operatives and loyalists. In the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy – “Git ‘er done!’
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