Contrary to Pelosi's hyperbole, Trump's budget is courageous, not immoral

COMMENTARY Budget and Spending

Contrary to Pelosi's hyperbole, Trump's budget is courageous, not immoral

Jul 27th, 2017 2 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Tommy Binion

Director, Congressional and Executive Branch Relations

Thomas is responsible for Heritage's many programs on Capitol Hill and its engagement with the administration.

Key Takeaways

The problem for Pelosi is that the president’s budget is not outrageous.

The president’s budget suggests eliminating wasteful and fraudulent programs.

No serious economists believe that the current level of deficit spending is sustainable forever.

Nancy Pelosi is wrong. When she says of President Trump’s budget that “it is shameful, it is immoral and it is indecent,” she is practicing a new brand of hyperbole that Democrats evidently think is effective against Trump.

Think that’s not hyperbole? Pelosi went even further, calling a 62-page document with no force or effect “literally a killer.” Literally.

Her rhetoric ignores the facts and proceeds straight to breathless outrage. The problem for Pelosi is that the president’s budget is not outrageous. It plainly represents the priorities of Americans, 70 percent of whom believe federal spending should decrease.

The budget makes some necessary cuts in some places and merely curbs future increases in spending in other places. It leaves Social Security and Medicare entirely intact, and it reduces the rate of increase in Medicaid spending. It prioritizes national security and border security, and leaves in place an overwhelmingly generous (and expensive) welfare system. Most importantly, it balances over a 10-year time frame.

The president’s budget suggests eliminating wasteful and fraudulent programs and reforms and streamlines an out-of-control bureaucracy that utterly fails to serve its purpose. The budget also assumes deficit-neutral tax reform, not a tax cut for the rich, as Nancy Pelosi has suggested.

Our political leaders have every right to thoughtfully scrutinize and even criticize important policy proposals such as the president’s budget. Indeed, I wish they would. However, instead of thoughtful analysis grounded in the reality of the federal budget, Democratic leaders are giving us dishonest and reflexive soundbites suggesting the most exaggerated conclusions possible. Their purpose can only be to foment outrage and further enrage the small segment of the population committed to “resisting” the president.

There is an actual outrageous reality that Trump and his Office of Management and Budget are bravely confronting. Federal spending is currently on a glide path to a debt crisis and — ultimately — fiscal ruin. Before too long, interest on the debt will outpace most other federal expenditures. No serious economists believe that the current level of deficit spending is sustainable forever.

If a U.S. family making the median family income ($54,000) modeled their spending off the U.S. government’s, they’d spend $64,000 this year. That means they’d add $10,000 to credit cards despite being already $272,000 in debt.

Our nation is nearly $20 trillion in debt, and the American people have noticed. According to a study produced by The Heritage Foundation, 92 percent believe “the amount of debt the country has is a big problem” and 89 percent believe “reducing federal spending should be a top priority.” Further, 86 percent believe “the government’s current spending practices are harmful to our economy.”

Yet when a president comes along who finally suggests spending reductions that have the overwhelming support of the American people, Democratic leaders have the audacity to suggest it’s immoral. In fact, it is Nancy Pelosi whose dishonesty and divisiveness is immoral.

This piece originally appeared in The Hill.