Trump’s budget cuts a good start

By Andy Winemiller -

Since I’m no longer involved in politics I may now call things as I see them.

Those who remain involved in that sport don’t have that opportunity. If one is chair of the local GOP, he or she is expected to support a nominee of the party.

I think a lot of folks had a tough little grappling session with the duties of their positions and their personal thoughts in this latest election cycle. Many had to choose between their personal beliefs and party allegiance.

Toeing the party line is the only logical reason a Ted Cruz supporter would end up supporting Donald Trump.

I’m not going to use this weekly opinion piece to call old political hacks out for selling their souls to somebody who does not share their vision for the country or the party. I’m just noting that I’m can now in a position in which I can simply call the balls and strikes as I see them.

And in this administration there have been a lot of wild pitches. I used to umpire baseball too, and Trump is the pitcher who made you cringe when he stepped on the mound.

His throwing with poor or no mechanics coupled with the fact the team’s manager put the poor fat kid who couldn’t run behind the dish to attempt to stop the pitches as they hit the dirt left one bruised and battered.

The man is a mess, whose mere presence in the Oval Office has lowered the standard for what it takes to be a leader in this country. I never supported his candidacy, but re-assuming that umpire role, I have to give credit where credit is due.

In the first time Trump has impressed me since he degraded the office of president of the United States by setting foot in it, the Trump administration released its blueprint for the nation’s budget.

It stepped on a lot of toes, but I’m a huge fan.

Our federal government’s spending has been out of control for decades, and every dollar placed into the budget has some powerful group lobbying for that dollar.

I’ve often wondered what the outcry might sound like when somebody wandered into budget negotiations really wanting to rip funding and save dollars.

Trump’s plan to cut funding to a few agencies and divert that funding has brought out the cries from friends of big government. While I think the savings ought to have been passed along to the American taxpayer or used to pay debt rather than redirected towards defense spending, I’d be glad to see some of these agencies go.

A Boston Globe story laid out 19 programs and agencies which would be entirely cut should Congress follow Trump’s blueprint, and after reading the story, I’m still a fan of the proposal.

The African Development Foundation sucked more than $28 million from the American taxpayer in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The story outlines that the figure translates to only nine cents per person in the United States. I think that was meant to make me say, “It’s only nine cents. Let’s keep it around.”

I disagree with that logic. That is nine cents of my money headed overseas rather than to support the necessary functions of government and the citizens of our country.

Then there’s 37 cents per person going toward the Appalachian Regional Commission. That hits close to home, but in the name of cutting bloated government somebody must call all agencies and programs which extend beyond the realm of what the federal government should be doing to question.

At $3.37 per person the Corporation for National and Community Service is also on the chopping block. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting wouldn’t cost us $1.37 per person anymore. A Legal Services Corporation costs us $1.54 per person and would be cut.

There are a number of little agencies which support certain regions such as the Denali Commission which cost the taxpayer small amounts, like five or six cents per person.

Endowments for the arts and the humanities are also on the chopping block.

In the end, as reported by The Globe, Trump’s proposal would cut $9.45 per person in the United States. That’s a romantic dinner for two at McDonald’s. It’s a 12-pack of beer. Maybe not great beer, but there are only two kinds of beer — good beer and better beer. There’s no such thing as bad beer.

In the end, Trump’s budget only touches on a small portion of discretionary spending, but it’s a start.

I commend the president for taking the first step in reining in the size of the federal government and re-positioning its priorities. However, much more of this approach will need to take place before we have significantly scaled back the size of our bloated government.

For me, this is the first of the wild pitcher’s fastballs which hit the zone, and hopefully it will leave big government hitters swinging late.

And be prepared, because the sob stories from those with skin in the game with these organizations will begin to flow if Congress takes a serious look at following the president’s guidance.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.