50°F
weather icon Possible Light Rain

Don’t let Trump’s budget proposal distract you from the real spenders

As a political junkie, I get lots of email pleas from politicians and political advocacy groups. Today, I got one from U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Well, not exactly. That’s what the “from” header said, but the message was signed “Team AOC” and delivered via Daily Kos.

What does Team AOC want me to know? That “Donald Trump is robbing the working and middle class to give huge tax breaks to the wealthiest among us.” His latest budget proposal, they say, “is a classic right-wing plan that would gut our most critical social programs.”

I probably dislike Trump’s budget proposal as much as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does, if not more, and not for all the same reasons. It asks Congress for way too much, and way too much of what it asks for is corporate welfare for arms manufacturers in the guise of “defense.”

But Team AOC wants me to do more than dislike it. They want me to take it seriously, so that I donate money to help them “fight” it.

I don’t take it seriously. I dislike it in the same way I like a bad movie or a poorly written novel. It’s fiction, and not particularly entertaining fiction.

As Peter Suderman writes at Reason, “[t]he president’s annual budget proposal has about as much impact on the budget process as the lunch menu in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria, possibly less, given that one actually impacts the disposition of sitting members of Congress.”

For nearly a century, under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921, the president has been required by law to submit an annual budget request.

And for nearly a century, Congress has felt free to ignore that budget request.

In theory, Trump can ask for anything and everything he might, in his wildest dreams, want.

As a practical matter, since the Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives, he gets whatever the Democratic Party decides to let him have.

Yes, he can veto what they offer. Yes, the two sides can dig in, triggering a “government shutdown” that’s more dramatic production than true crisis.

But when the smoke clears, the president gets not one thin dime to spend unless Congress appropriates it. That was true when big-spending Republicans controlled Congress during the Obama years, and it’s true now.

Don’t let Congress con you. They, not the president, are responsible for government spending, deficits, and debt.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter:@thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north-central Florida.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
COVID-19 and how residents are ignoring the self-quarantine

Some residents of Nevada ignore the call for voluntarily self-quarantining and social distancing. There are still a lot of people out in the community, and traffic on the roads is still substantial. If you make a quick trip to pick up essentials at the grocery store, you will see that stores are still being overrun by shoppers madly searching for the ever-elusive rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Head into a big box hardware store to pick up repair parts, and shoppers fill the aisles who have no idea what social distancing means. Bored at home and seeking something productive to do, homeowners have decided to occupy their free time by tackling projects around the yard and house. Signs around the stores asking shoppers to maintain social distancing are largely ignored by many as they go about their business. Yes, you will see some residents wearing surgical face masks. You will also see some wearing homemade masks of cloth or windsocks pulled up and cover their face and nose. Some shoppers, as they navigate down crowded aisles, will move to keep at least six feet between them and other shoppers. Then there are those shoppers who crowd in on top of you as stand waiting to check out without any regard to the prominently places signs asking them to stay back at least six feet. For them and for others who are not heeding the request to stay at home and for social distancing, the COVID-19 virus is not a real threat.

By the time we notice we’re hungry, it may be too late

“As the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers, crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May.

It’s not the zombie apocalypse we were promised

For years we have all watched the movies and read the books about a global pandemic that would herald the end of mankind as we know it. When the virus was first reported, I was alarmed and was very glad that the president at least stopped flights from China. What happened next still puzzles me.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, March 11 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $10 million.