Opinion

Blame Congress for uncontrolled federal deficit, not Trump

(Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Being stupid in America no longer disqualifies a person from being a political leader. You can be flat wrong and still attract followers. Case in point are politicians who want to impose socialism.

Not far behind are the intellectually flatulent people who want to blame the President of this country for our $23 trillion federal debt. These pin-brained lightweights only highlight their ignorance by claiming that it’s the President who has caused the uncontrolled federal deficit. This is not true for Trump, and it wasn’t true for Obama and Bush either. If they want to ride some people out of town on a rail, look no further than at Congress and the mainstream media.

The high and exalted fake news media wants all of us lesser “commoners” to believe that Trump is responsible for increasing the federal debt and the annual budget deficit. This provides us another example of the disastrous results of eliminating civics classes in junior high. Or at any grade level.

Well, here’s what you missed if you were robbed of a civics education: The U.S. budget process is the framework used by the President and Congress to form and create the federal budget. The process begins with the President submitting a budget request to Congress. This request includes funding for all federal departments and other agencies. The President’s request includes supporting information intended to persuade Congress about “the necessity and value of the budget provisions”. Why? Because it’s Congress that makes all the laws that govern and approve the budget. The old saying in Washington tells it all: “The President proposes and Congress disposes”. This means the U.S. Constitution puts Congress in charge of deciding how much the federal taxes will be, and how much the federal government will spend. Not the President. Congress can even propose its own budget before the President makes a request.

So, this year President Trump proposed a $4.8 trillion budget plan that boosts the military and leaves Social Security and Medicare untouched. The budget shows that the deficit rises above $1 trillion only for this budget year then steadily decreases to manageable levels over coming years. Why show any deficit at all? The answer is because of little-known Congressional laws which mandate that two-thirds of all federal spending is formula-based and commands Congress to enact the mandates and the President to sign. The remaining one-third of the budget is determined and spent through the Congressional appropriations process. Only Congress can change these formulas and mandated laws, and only Congress can raise and apportion revenue.

The President is also operating under mandates for certain areas of the budget. He has no choice but to adhere to Congressional formulas. But he has other choices when it comes to the rest of the budget. And his plan is to slash $4.4 trillion from federal spending over the next 10 years, a cut which would set a record, and put the budget on a path to balance it. Assuming Congressional resistance does not kill it, which it did last year, reducing foreign aid and social safety nets are major components of the cuts. But as a prime example of what little control a President has over the budget outcome, House Speaker Pelosi has already promised to resist the President’s budget. The House of Representatives is firmly controlled by Democrats, the perps who assure the President’s budget will not be passed as presented. No sane person doubts that the Dems will attempt to boost Congressional spending as high as they can, especially in the areas of social welfare, nanny state “free stuff”, paying off students’ debt, health care, some form of Green New Deal, and global warming. In fact, there is serious doubt that Democrats and Republicans can agree on a budget before the presidential election.

If Trump’s budget would pass, it would significantly reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy, reshape the federal government, and would produce a budget surplus by 2035. It would empower local and state governments. National defense would be a priority. But Trump’s budget will never pass because the Dems in Congress will not allow Trump to have a victory. Even when it’s a good thing for America.

John R. Smith

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company. He is a frequent columnist for BizPac Review.
John R. Smith

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