Trump Budget Blueprint Would Eliminate 18 Agencies

The president's skinny budget would eliminate most funding for science and the arts to fund more Defense spending.

President Trump's "America First" budget blueprint was released on Thursday.

President Trump’s “America First” budget blueprint was released on Thursday.

The White House has released “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” Apparently, “great” is synonymous for doing away with funding for science, the arts,

WaPo (“Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor“):

Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.

The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.

“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

Among the agencies targeted for complete elimination are the Chemical Safety Board, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the US Trade and Development Agency, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the US Institute for Peace, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

As Garance Franke-Ruta observes, “As far as I can tell the main goal of the Trump budget is partisan job destruction: cutting max govt. jobs potentially held by liberals or Democrats.”

The NYT (“Donald Trump Budget Slashes Funds for E.P.A. and State Department“) indicates how unlikely much of this is to actually be passed:

The budget outline, to be unveiled on Thursday, is more of a broad political statement than a detailed plan for spending and taxation. But it represents Mr. Trump’s first real effort to translate his bold but vague campaign themes into the minutiae of governance. The president would funnel $54 billion in additional funding into defense programs, beef up immigration enforcement and significantly reduce the nondefense federal work force to further the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” in the words of Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon.

Yet for all its headline-grabbing bold strokes — and the White House claims that it will reset the process of Washington policy making — major elements of the plan have already been declared dead on arrival by the Republican leadership in Congress, and much of the fiscal fine print will be filled in by Capitol Hill lawmakers and their aides over the next month.

House appropriations subcommittees began reviewing the plan late Wednesday. Among the cuts: drastic reductions in the 60-year-old State Department Food for Peace Program, which sends food to poor countries hit by war or natural disasters, and the elimination of the Department of Transportation’s Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights to rural airports.

The plan to be released at 7 a.m. tomorrow is a “skinny budget,” a pared-down first draft of the line-by-line appropriations request submitted by first-term administrations during their first few months. A broader budget will be released later in the spring that will include Mr. Trump’s proposals for taxation as well as the bulk of government spending — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.

Mr. Trump’s version is likely to be even skinnier than usual, a result of the chaos, inexperience and staffing problems encountered by the Trump White House over the first two months.

Even with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, this will be dead on arrival. Still, it’s a rather stark break from the governing consensus going back generations.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    Putin would like this though..

  2. Grumpy Realist says:

    China will love it even more. I expect to see Chinese science and technology leap ahead of the US’s by leaps and bounds.

    Where in the heck does Trump think that next-generation technology and medicine come from? The Tooth Fairy?

  3. SenyorDave says:

    If Trump is actually in office for four years I think America’s global influence will diminish sharply (in Trumpian terms by a tremendously yuuuge amount). The mindset of Steve Bannon is screw the good of the country, blow everything up. Trump could care less as long as his businesses do well.

    BTW, here is part of Trump’s inagural address:

    US President Donald Trump took office on 20 January, pledging to “unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow”.

    His budget reduces NIH funding by almost 20%. Does he even know what the NIH is? He and his people aren’t just misguided, they are evil.

  4. Bob says:

    There will be pain, but if folks forego that new smartphone they will be okay.

  5. Anonne says:

    Stupid, myopic and evil is the calling card of this administration the Republican Party. This is what happens when you don’t believe in public goods other than defense. We tried the Articles of Confederation and dashed it away for a reason.

  6. Scott says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Since corporations no longer do much Basic Research (think about what Bell Labs or IBM used to do), then it is a core Federal Government job and that needs funding. Though I don’t think that the vandals now running the country understand that.

  7. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The plan to be released at 7 a.m. tomorrow is a “skinny budget,”

    One of the items expected to be eliminated is LBJ’s meals-on-wheels program.

    The money for Meals On Wheels is part of the Older American Act, first passed in 1965 as part of LBJ’s Great Society, and endorsed by every president until Trump. The total cost, which includes other programs, is about $2 billion a year, which is less than the government hands out in fossil fuel subsidies every year.

    Meals On Wheels alone costs about $3 million a year, which is the cost of just one trip to Trump’s “winter White House.”

    $54 Million for Military. Eliminating a life-link for seniors.

    Dick move.

  8. al-Alameda says:

    This is the most radical administration in a about 100 years.
    They’ve got the numbers, and more importantly, the will to jam this through prior to the 2018 mid-tem campaign season.

    The next person who says there’s no difference between the parties needs to be renditioned to the British Embassy in Equador and required to sleep with Jullian Assange for as long as Assange is a ‘guest’ over there.

  9. KM says:

    Even with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, this will be dead on arrival. Still, it’s a rather stark break from the governing consensus going back generations.

    So optimistic James. This will get more support then you expect. As long as it can be spun to “hurt libruls” or MAGA, the cruel shortsightedness of this bill will be overlooked and blame for fallout will be punted unto the media / liberals / whomever Trump’s scapegoating today.

    I *hope* this will be DOA. But it will be a starting negotiating point and most of the offensiveness won’t be stripped out when all is said and done. That man is taking a flamethrower to America and his brainwashed followers will gleefully dance in the ruin’s glow.

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Let’s privatize the ATC…have it run by the lowest bidder…what could go wrong?
    If you voted for these people you are nothing but a dumb fwck.
    There is no other way to put it.
    You are flat out stupid.

  11. Joe says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    $54 billion, but its just a few zeros.

    All guns, no butter. That’s your new America.

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    In theory, conservatives used to believe that there were other solutions than government for common problems. Now they believe that solutions and common problems are fantasies dreamt up by secular liberals–all they really want is to destroy any kind of life outside of money, killing dark-skinned people, and lording over the poor and the unfortunate. It’s a disgusting and pathetic moment in America. We are basically in the hands of people who think it is ‘virtue signaling’ to give a shit.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Scott: Which is why Libertarians and those of their ilk are such sillies. They may want to try to run the U.S. with a shrunken government and as little money going towards R&D and infrastructure as possible, but they constantly forget that the U.S. doesn’t exist by its little lonesome but in competition with all the other countries of the world. Trump may shove as much money as he wants at the military, but unless there’s the background R&D to work off, he’s going to discover that the U.S. will soon be in the position of having a military equipped with flintlocks and cannon going up against air power and nukes.

    If China wanted to be very, very mischievous, they could loudly proclaim that they were starting up several National Science Development projects, offer good jobs with all the surrounding necessary equipment to any researcher in certain fields, and then just watch US science and technology implode.

  14. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Yes, and the Republicans have left their flanks open on a host of issues…budgeting, deficits, foreign policy, law enforcement, immigration, guns, healthcare, veterans, trade….

    But Republican voters don’t care about those issues. They don’t even care if you give conservative arguments about those issues. They care about White Power and Punishing Liberals. If White Power and Punishing Liberals means hurting themselves and America at large, so be it.

  15. Moosebreath says:


    “Even with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, this will be dead on arrival. Still, it’s a rather stark break from the governing consensus going back generations.”

    Huh? Why is this any different than the successive Ryan Budgets which were supported in overwhelming numbers by Republicans in Congress? Or as the person who holds the whip hand over Congressional Republicans (Grover Norquist) put it:

    “MG: Right. You said when Romney was running that you just need someone with five fingers to sign the Ryan budget into law.

    GN: We don’t need five! Just enough working digits to hold the pen. Republicans need to focus their angst and disappointment and frustration into electing a Republican president and maintaining a Republican Senate. Then the current House as currently structured can change the world. But it can’t change the world alone.”

  16. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    While I certainly hope that this becomes DOA (and expect that it will–too much damage at too little savings), this is what the nation at large voted for–both Presidentially and Congressionally–so I’m happy if it’s given to them. With both barrels.

  17. Scott says:

    These are budgets and plans by people who have developed such a hatred for anything in this country. Don’t let them get away for one moment that this is anything “America First”. This is a path to second class status.

    This speech (especially the last line) by Sam Gamgee at the end of LOTR: The Two Towers seems to come to mind when thinking about anything Trump and Republican:


    It’s all wrong
    By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
    But we are.
    It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
    The ones that really mattered.
    Full of darkness and danger they were,
    and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
    Because how could the end be happy.
    How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
    But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
    Even darkness must pass.
    A new day will come.
    And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
    Those were the stories that stayed with you.
    That meant something.
    Even if you were too small to understand why.
    But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
    I know now.
    Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
    Because they were holding on to something.

    Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?

    Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.

  18. Facebones says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Kevin Drum’s assessment:

    Just a quick note to repeat something I said a few days ago: don’t pay any more attention to President Trump’s budget than you do to his tweets. It’s not meant as a serious proposal. It’s just a way for him to send a message to his fans that he hates the EPA and the State Department and loves vets and the Pentagon.

    The real action is in Congress. They won’t pay any attention to Trump’s budget, and he knows it.

    It’s posturing to show how tough and strong he is.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    China will love it even more. I expect to see Chinese science and technology leap ahead of the US’s by leaps and bounds.

    As I’ve commented before, the American Century ended Jan 20.

  20. Moosebreath says:

    I find Martin Longman’s analysis interesting. The TL; DR version is that Trump ran as an anti-establishment figure who could get things done, many of which were contrary to Republican dogma (leaving Medicare and Social Security alone, major infrastructure investments, etc.). However, rather than putting together coalitions to pass what he wants, he is being dragged to the anti-establishment extreme right wing of the Republican Party, making putting together coalitions nearly impossible:

    “Trump wasn’t elected to be the most far right Republican in the country. He was elected, in large part, because he wasn’t a Republican. He wasn’t anything like George or Jeb Bush. He wasn’t like John Boehner and Eric Cantor. That was a huge part of his appeal. And it wasn’t just that he was more pugnacious. It was that he was different when it came to trade and infrastructure and entitlements and health care. He picked off a lot of traditional Democrats because of this, but he didn’t follow up with that advantage once he started to form his cabinet and craft his legislative priorities.”

  21. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Facebones: the problem is that other people may take it seriously. Let’s say you’re a top-notch scientist in, say, nanotechnology. Why should you emigrate to the US rather than a country which makes a big deal about providing funds for R&D?

    Scientists take statements at face value. Trumpie is huffing and puffing and threatening to destroy the US S&T base. Why shouldn’t they believe him?

    Trump may think he’s got a cunning plan, only to discover he’s shot off both balls and his prick.

  22. Gromitt Gunn says:

    This budget, if passed as is, will harm rural areas much more than urban and suburban ones. Rural broadcasting, rural airports, rural Meals on Wheels, libraries, research stations, agricultural and engineering extension services, etc. Large cities and counties will figure out a way to pick up at least some of the slack, which will be smaller on a per capita basis.

  23. Franklin says:

    Question for the conservatives: Do you still feel Obama is a ‘radical’?

  24. Deb says:

    OMG — look at these (many) garbage or duplicate departments

  25. Deb says:

    @Franklin: YES……………………………………

  26. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: I just looked up Bell Labs. Totally shocked. The once mighty Bell labs is now part of Nokia. Talk about sad!

  27. the Q says:

    “…..Question for the conservatives: Do you still feel Obama is a ‘radical’?…..”

    No, but they still consider him a foreign born N word.

    My God, I would hope that sometime, in whatever is left in my lifetime, that I will live to see the day that Pentagon spending shrinks.

    It happened for a short period in the 90s (only because of the USSR dissolving) and we enjoyed a brief “peace dividend” (if you can imagine budget SURPLUSES for 3 straight years!!!. I know for you youngsters, that’s the equivalent of rotary phones).

    When will the madness cease? My generation had the folly of Vietnam and the long dragged out fight there. I thought we learned our lesson. The Boomers have the Iraq fiasco the last 15 years and paid no attention to the mistakes of their parents. \

    Now, the insanity of bulking up DoD budgets again at the cost of civilian well being.

    Can the modern lib Dems please get their shiite together?

  28. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The Cheeto-Jesus is doing away with “”Meals on Wheels”.
    Robin Hood in reverse.
    What kind of evil mother-fwcker preys on the most vulnerable like Trump does with this budget? The poor, the sick, the elderly, women, and children.

  29. Scott says:

    You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

    Notice the redefinition of “Swamp People”. Now it is just programs they don’t like along with government workers.

  30. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    “What kind of evil mother-fwcker preys on the most vulnerable like Trump does with this budget? The poor, the sick, the elderly, women, and children.”

    Sorry, but this isn’t exclusive to Trump. This is bog-standard Republican class warfare on behalf of the upper class, as shown by their overwhelming support of the Ryan budget.

  31. reid says:

    @Scott: Seems “the swamp” is now everything in government that isn’t related to DOD or border control. Yay.

    I’m obviously disgusted with everything that this budget stands for and signifies. I would hope a whole lot of my fellow Americans would be, too. I’m always amazed how many “Debs” are out there, though. Screaming about Obama while dying of hunger or lack of medical care.

    By the way, as a moderate Republican, I was hoping our esteemed host would take more of a principled stand against this.

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    See, this is why I can’t take the Left seriously. Because this talking point is mostly garbage.

    First, Trump is not cutting funds to Meals on Wheels. He’s proposed cutting a block grant program and one of the things that it gives funds to is Meals on Wheels. There is no specific cut for MOW and no reason it couldn’t find funds elsewhere within HUD. Have you looked at the CDBG program? Are you sure there is NOTHING in their budget that’s wasteful or unnecessary?

    Second, MOW gets about 3% of their funding from the Feds. So even if they were zeroed out, the impact on their operations would be small.

    Yeah, you can make the argument that the block grant program is a bad place to cut spending. But this particular talking point is pure BS. This is combing through a large program, finding something popular and screaming, “AAHHHH! STARVING SENIORS!” It’s not an argument; it’s cherry-picking a popular program, leaving out important facts and pretending it represents … something. Anything.

    Honestly, you guys are worse than the “if you cut defense spending, you want the terrorists to win” crowd.

    Look, I think Trump’s budget is ill-advised and an oafish attempt to redo budget priorities. But make that case. Don’t come to me with line of hooey. Stop making me defend Trump.

  33. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Of course after slashing funds for Habitat for Humanity…Cheeto-Jesus is spending my money and your money on his wall.

  34. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    So your point is that the mango Mussolini is not cutting Meals on Wheels, he is only cutting a funding source for Meals on Wheels?
    Well, shit…that’s different…Trump 2020!!!

  35. Hal_10000 says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I’m saying MOW is a very small part of a very large program and the usefulness of that very small part does not necessarily justify the existence of the very large program. Justify the very large program. Singling out something popular within it is lazy and sloppy. It’s the same logic, in reverse, by which Trump justifies cracking down on immigration because some immigrants have done bad things.

    For example: Trump justified his immigration crackdown by dragging out people who had lost family members to illegal aliens. The correct response was not, “Hey, I know a great immigrant!” The correct response was, “Yeah, some do bad things. But on balance, they make a positive contribution to our society.”

    Trump’s justification here is that there are wasteful programs within the block grant program. The correct response is not, “but there are some good ones!” The correct response is, “OK. but most do good. Identify and eliminate the bad ones instead of cutting the whole thing.” Trump’s budget cuts are lazy. Expose them as such.

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:


    It’s difficult to justify this particular VLP without talking about the usefulness of small parts, since CBDG’s are so flexible and are applied to so many different types of projects. Maryland, for example, utilizes part of the funding for small business startup assistance funding / loans, etc. Baltimore uses part of it for housing / urban renewal. I’d argue that it’s much more short-sighted to simply say “very large program bad” without bothering to even try to examine what very large program does.

  37. Hal_10000 says:


    I would agree with that. Which is why I think Trump’s choice to cut this program is ham-fisted. That’s a reasonable argument. “Trump wants seniors to starve” is not.

  38. Tyrell says:

    There is no doubt that some agencies, departments, and offices are necessary and do a lot of good. There is no doubt that there are also useless, pesky, redundant, and antiquated government agencies.
    Here are just a small fraction:
    Minerals Management Service
    Millennium Challenge Corporation ( just what is the challenge ?)
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    U.S. Board of Geographic Names (“what do you think we should name that river beside Podunk ?”)
    Division of Bureau of Weights and Measures (Bushel and a peck – I am still trying to figure that one out. Hectare? forget it )
    Bureau of Mines (maybe does some good: maybe they could give us some hints on where that Lost Dutchman’s mine is. You know they know !)
    Federal Tricycle Safety Department (was that created with the infamous government sponsored study on “why kids fall off tricycles ?)
    Civil War Veterans Benefits Office (Fascinating. They are probably down in the basement of some old long forgotten Washington building, with retirees writing out checks by hand. )
    And that is just the agencies that we know about. There are probably a lot more that remain behind the curtain; even the Congress and President are unaware of them.
    Congress and President are unaware of them.
    What is needed is a new government agency to study and eliminate government unneeded agencies !
    Almost every president since Eisenhower has proposed eliminating wasteful and unneeded government programs ,agencies, and regulations. What we have is the fourth branch of government; yet is unaccountable to anyone and in some cases out of control.

  39. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    Justify the very large program.

    I have no problem justifying a program that helps to fund infrastructure like affordable housing, bike trails, gyms for Boys and Girls clubs…and, of course, Meals on Wheels.
    Is there waste? I’m sure…there is waste in every single human endeavor.
    Does that mean we should intentionally create more homelessness and more hunger? Because you know…fwck them…they are the “others”.

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I have my doubts that Cheeto remotely understands what CBDGs do, or remotely cares. His attention span is measured in seconds and doesn’t venture far beyond “how will this make me look? Will it make people like me?”

    Bannon/Miller saw an opportunity to recoup funding that primarily helps the disadvantaged, IMO, and they well know that part of the impact of that would be seniors starving. They just don’t care.

  41. Hal_10000 says:


    Well, this is the problem with cutting spending. Let’s say you identify a $200 million program that everyone agrees is particularly useless. Cutting funding for that program runs into a problem:

    1) The people who draw their salaries from that program will vehemently oppose any cuts to it.
    2) The cost of the program to the typical American is tiny.
    3) There is no Federal Dog Beating Program or Federal Kitten Kicking Program. Almost all government programs have noble goals (or at least noble titles). Let’s say this one purports to fight illiteracy but is woefully bad at doing so.

    Given (1), (2) and (3), you will almost instantly find a sympathetic media who will say, “Trump wants to cut this program which fights illiteracy and only costs Americans a tenth of a penny a day!” This is why the sequester eventually happened. It was easier to just cut everything.

  42. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Very true. I’ve often said that Americans actually love THEIR government spending – they just hate everybody else’s.

    For clarification of this phenomenon, try closing a military base (regardless of how pointless its existence is), then sit back and watch the fireworks.

  43. Liberal Capitalist says:


    See, this is why I can’t take the Left seriously. Because this talking point is mostly garbage.

    First, Trump is not cutting funds to Meals on Wheels. He’s proposed cutting a block grant program and one of the things that it gives funds to is Meals on Wheels.

    So, I’m not going to kill you, I’m just going to put you in a room where we remove all the oxygen.

    What happens after that is up to you.

    … bootstraps !

  44. grumpy realist says:

    Article pointing out over at Computerworld that this budget would also potentially wreck havoc on US research in supercomputers. Which are used for a) code-breaking b) Big Data analysis c) research in protein folding, etc.

    And China is already getting ahead of us when it comes to supercomputer development.

    So Trump will create a lot of shiny new metal things for the military geek types—and make it near impossible for us to remain ahead of the pack when it comes to mastering the next set of developments in science and technology.

    Remember what I said about fighting the next war with flintlocks and cannons? Yup, that’s what we’re gearing up for.

    (If I have any luck, Scotland will vote for independence from Britain and push to become a technological powerhouse. They’ve got the background and the language, now they just need the scientists and engineers. Who WILL move away from the US if we continue to go down Trump’s path.)

  45. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tyrell: First, I have no idea what you think they do, but the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) are the bank cops. They have primary jurisdictional authority over all nationally chartered banks, and took over jurisdictional authority of nationally chartered savings and loans, as well, after the Office of Thrift Supervision was rolled into the OCC in 2011.

    They have almost 4,000 employees and are the primary office within the Treasury Department responsible for understanding what Chase, BoA, Citigroup, etc., are up to.

    Second, if you don’t understand why we need national standards for geographic naming or for weights and measures… I can’t even….

    Just because you don’t know offhand what a Federal Agency does, or can’t figure out why it is a necessary function of government directly by looking at its name, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing important work.

    Finally, the Minerals Management Service was dissolved in 2011. Tricycle safety standard setting is done through ANSI, which is a private non-profit. Civil War veteran’s benefits are administered through the VA (and as of August 2016 there is still one daughter collecting a monthly check), not through a separate agency. And the Bureau of Mines was dissolved in **1996**.

    Where the heck did you copy and paste this list from??

  46. JohnMcC says:

    The Budget Control Act of 2010 (‘sequestration’) essentially blocks this kind of fund shifting according to Annie Lowry (Mrs Ezra Klein BTW) in theatlantic-dot-com. She asserts that ratios between non-defense and discretionary spending and DOD spending are locked in and that in order to change them the law would require repeal of the law. Which would be susceptible to filibuster and thus is impossible at present.

    I was surprised and heartened. But since I’m as unfamiliar with the Budget Control Act as anyone it seems a slender thread.

  47. Hal_10000 says:

    Incidentally, the CDBG program which puts a tiny amount of its funds into Meals on Wheels? It would appear to be rife with corruption and crony capitalism. At least a quarter of the funds seem to disappear into administration. Probably should be cut. If you want to fund Meals on Wheels, create a new program for it.

  48. Modulo Myself says:


    That’s some truly dreadful stuff going down. Repaving elementary school parking lots and fixing their sidewalks? What does that have to do with communities? Or politicians helping their local businesses like Bell’s Bowery. Don’t they know about how great free market capitalism is? Look at the Rust Belt–worked great there.

    What’s worth pointing out is how autistic and anti-social the hole libertarians and Republicans have dug themselves into. It’s not exactly that they are cruel, racist, or greedy (although they are, but in many ways no more than the average American) but that they are tediously inhumane. Virtually all of the things listed in that Reason article are examples of how communities are trying to make things better–if only aesthetically–in the hope that this will translate to better lives for their citizens. I there’s corruption, it’s because humans are corrupt, not because of big government blah fucking blah.

    These are easy simple truths. But the right is now populated by sociopaths and people who think that handshakes represent a violation of free market autism. They have nothing to offer.

  49. Grumpy Realist says:

    @Hal_10000: if you want to complain about corruption, what about what we’re seeing in the military?

  50. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Hal_10000: @Hal_10000: or we could actually federally administrate it instead of federally disburse it to local control, but conservatives and the libertarianish thought local control was somehow automatically better. Additionally, infrastructure,job development activities, and job retention activities are explicitly allowed, despite reason’s shock and horror. One way such a thing might go down is for a community to upgrade infrastructure that enables a proximate business expansion AND other further developments. Using a block grant.

    Is there a better way? Maybe. Is there corruption? Probably. But the supply siders should be fine with that–it should still ‘trickle down’ into the community. Or does that really only work when banksters and C suite executives take their vigorish?

  51. David M says:


    The Reason article kind of seems thin, given that their complaints include “a locality misused funds”, “a city built a community recreational facility”, improvements were made to an elementary school and some parks had their parking lots repaved. There are always things that groups like Reason* will criticize, but those critics usually focus on trivial matters.

    *It’s difficult to take criticism from them seriously, given they are opposed to existence of the CDBG, and would end it even if the “problems” they reported didn’t exist.

  52. Modulo Myself says:


    Second, MOW gets about 3% of their funding from the Feds. So even if they were zeroed out, the impact on their operations would be small.

    Turns out that the research wing of Meals on Wheels gets 3%. The part that delivers actual food gets 35%. Can’t believe Reason lied to you about this. Bet it’s the last time you’ll use that as a source!

  53. Davebo says:

    @al-Alameda: Well, except Assange is in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain.

    But I concur.

  54. Davebo says:


    That’s a whole lot of misinformed for a single comment. Perhaps next time you should spread the idiocy out over several notes.

  55. Hal_10000 says:

    @Grumpy Realist:

    This, to me, is one the biggest problems with Trump’s budget proposal. It increases military spending for no reason other than to increase military spending. It does not to scale back corporate welfare. It even keeps the Ex-Im bank. I’m all in favor of smaller govt but this isn’t smaller govt. it’s simply taking money from one place and spending it in another place. Of all the places to cut spending, NIH and climate research would not be at the top. Does he even remember the Ebola panic?

    This is the budget of a not terribly bright child.

  56. Hal_10000 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    My source for 3% was actually CNN and Snopes. Reason noted that different branches get different amounts, ranging from 1% to 45%. Care to cite your source?

  57. Pch101 says:

    Reason and American Thinker both deserve to win Most Ironically Titled Publication awards.

    Neither of them should be regarded as anything more than infotainment. Using them for research purposes is a serious mistake.

  58. Kari Q says:


    See, this is why I can’t take the Left seriously. Because this talking point is mostly garbage.

    Because if recent elections have taught us anything, it’s that it’s vital to be moderate in your claims, completely accurate in your criticism, and never, ever overstate your opponent’s positions.

    It’s not that I disagree with you on the details, it’s that those details never really mattered to anyone except a handful of policy wonks, and even talking about them costs you votes.

  59. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Kari Q:

    Hal’s decently smart, he just has self-invested corporate blind-spots. If you criticize the house of cards, you criticize him apparently.

  60. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: “Trump’s budget cuts are lazy. Expose them as such.”

    Right. The problem is not that Trump’s budget targets the weakest and most helpless among us. It’s not that it savages the poor and middle class to shovel billions of dollars at defense contractors. It’s not that it sends a message that America doesn’t give a damn about science, arts, and education.

    It’s that they’re sloppy in stating which programs they want to cut.

    That’s real genius-level political thinking there, Hal. I’m sure there’s nothing more effective against what many people consider a literally evil agenda is “I say, old chap, I believe you’ve accidentally targeted a handful of useful programs there. Let’s concentrate on fixing those.”

  61. wr says:

    @Hal_10000: Oooh, look! A “magazine” funded by plutocrats who hate paying taxes and that dedicates its being to the message that all government is bad claims that a government program to help poor and working people is rife with corruption! What a shocker!!! Hall has really nailed this one!!!!

  62. Jen says:

    I certainly hope this budget is DOA, but my current thought is that it’s to be considered a negotiating starting point.

    It’s an appalling budget proposal on many levels, but thinking that cooler heads will prevail in Congress doesn’t exactly give me the warm-fuzzies.

  63. al-Alameda says:


    @al-Alameda: Well, except Assange is in the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain.
    But I concur.

    Yes, I realized that far too late to correct it.

  64. al-Alameda says:

    From Reuters:

    President Donald Trump is proposing to shift oversight of the U.S. air traffic control from the federal government to an independent group, according to budget documents released on Thursday.

    Trump, who called the U.S. air traffic control system “obsolete” in a meeting with airline executives last month, is proposing $16.2 billion for the Department of Transportation’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2018, a reduction of 13 percent.

    Some Transportation Department budget items are paid through the highway gas tax fund.

    The document says Trump’s plan “initiates a multi-year reauthorization proposal to shift the air traffic control function of the Federal Aviation Administration to an independent, non-governmental organization.”

    Privatize (‘shift oversight’?) Air Traffic Control?
    Oh sure, what could possibly go wrong with a private company, or a series of private companies, owning and operating our air traffic control system? Our federal Air Traffic Control system is extremely good, just look at the record for accidents related to ATC error and failure.

    Why break something that is not broken?
    Oh wait, never mind, I know the answer to that one.

    I suppose he’s trying to fund his fricken wall-to-nowhere through budget cuts like this? Honestly, I keep hoping that while he’s down at Mar-A-Lago, a gator attacks and eats him (and the gator gets away, after all, I don’t want any animals or wildlife to be harmed).

  65. Argon says:

    So, rather than try to fix something, break it entirely and dispose of it. That is the ultimate goal of this work.

  66. Argon says:

    This article is a particularly interesting description of some of the players behind Trump.

  67. JohnMcC says:

    @Argon: Saw that article referenced to on Morning Joe today. Thanx for the link. Highly recommended.

  68. Gromitt Gunn says:
  69. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Paul Ryan to National Review editor Rich Lowry about throwing poor people off Medicaid:

    “We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around…since you and I were drinking out of kegs.”

    These people call themselves Christians.

  70. MarkedMan says:

    Apropos of almost nothing, but rolling off from Tyrell’s note above listing all the agencies he knew nothing about but thought should be cut because they have funny names:

    U.S. Board of Geographic Names (“what do you think we should name that river beside Podunk ?”)

    I had the honor of living next to the real Podunk for a few years. It’s a real place in Connecticut (which makes sense that it is from a “Pilgrim era” state since people have been using “way over in Podunk” as an insult long before the founding of the nation. Imagine my surprise when I moved to CT and noticed the name “Podunk” on a map I was looking at. Hard to tell exactly where it is/was, but I think today it is just an intersection of two country roads with a handful of houses scattered around.

  71. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Lit3Bolt: Hal_10000 is clearly very smart. It seems to me he asks more of the Left than of the Right, though. I could be mistaken–he certainly hasn’t been super *generous* to the Righties, but I have a hard time recalling anything like this kind of dismissal towards the Right when they engage in nutpicking.

    But that could absolutely just be *my* sensitivity as a leftish person.

  72. JKB says:

    We know this has no chance, but it is rockin’ the rice bowls. And who better to cut the deadwood than the bureaucrats clearing the field for defense of their budget. In any case, one major matter in government is after a few years, the committees, boards and even agencies go on autopilot without the sanitizing effect of sunlight. Now they are being dragged into the light and the open discussion of their public purpose.

  73. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Turgid Jacobian:

    The main thing seems to be the “teh Librals want muh money” prejudice. When Trump takes his taxes for crony capitalism or wasteful military spending, there’s suddenly no talking point and we have to address the issue on its merits.

  74. Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Lit3Bolt: well, what I was trying to say above is that I’m not confident my impression–which, hair trigger, is the same as yours–is correct. I seem to recall moments where he’s called out bad behavior of reactionaries, which is why I’m wondering if I’m being overly sensitive re his intemperate criticism of the Left on the basis of political point scoring.

  75. Barry says:

    @Hal_10000: “First, Trump is not cutting funds to Meals on Wheels. He’s proposed cutting a block grant program and one of the things that it gives funds to is Meals on Wheels. There is no specific cut for MOW and no reason it couldn’t find funds elsewhere within HUD. Have you looked at the CDBG program? Are you sure there is NOTHING in their budget that’s wasteful or unnecessary?”

    I didn’t kill Joe; I blew up the building in which he was.

  76. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: In a similar vein I would direct your attention to the WaPo ‘Plum Line’ piece by Paul Waldman yesterday – “Why Liberals Should Be Happy About Trump’s Appalling Budget Proposal”.

    It is a truism that Americans are doctrinally conservative but operationally liberal.

    But keep working on the assumption that voters won’t care about losing the benefits of gov’t services. PLEASE keep working on that assumption.

  77. Pch101 says:

    Bluesman RL Burnside supposedly murdered a man over a gambling debt. His comment: “I didn’t mean to kill nobody, I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord.”

    Burnside would have had more luck if Hal had been on his jury.

  78. MBunge says:

    Still, it’s a rather stark break from the governing consensus going back generations.

    Which has served us so very well.

    I doubt it will be much comfort to him but no matter how poorly he performs as President, future historians are at least going to give Trump credit for forcing Republicans to either live up to or repudiate the reckless rhetoric and extreme ideology they’ve been pushing for decades.

    This budget is a pretty accurate reflection of not only talk radio blather but right wing think tank proposals and GOP campaigns for decades. If they refuse to live up to it now, that will peel away a coating of deceit that has helped get us to where we are.


  79. Hal_10000 says:


    Speaking of Drum, he also wrote about Meals on Wheels pointing out that most of their govt funding comes from sources other than the CDBGs. CDBG funding for Meals on Wheels is very tiny.

    I’m no expert on community block grants. I don’t know if they’re a good idea or not. And God knows the Trump “skinny budget” is a disgraceful piece of work for the richest country on the planet. But spinning this as “Mulvaney guts Meals on Wheels” is pretty ridiculous. The vast majority of federal funding for Meals on Wheels—which comes via HHS’s Administration on Aging, not HUD’s CDBGs—remains intact. Someone managed to plant this idea with reporters, and more power to them. Good job! But reporters ought to be smart enough not to fall for it.

    So once again … fake news from the Left.

  80. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Hal_10000: So I can take it that you elected NOT to read the link provided by@Gromitt Gunn. Good to know. Cherry picking the “facts” that you want–alternative or otherwise–is your modus operandi.
    Fake news indeed.

  81. Mikey says:

    @Hal_10000: Drum is right, in a narrow sense. Meals on Wheels’ main funding source comes from HHS, not the block grants.

    However, as pointed out in the Meals on Wheels statement to which Grommit Gunn linked, HHS is in for a nearly 18% cut in funding as well. You can’t assert with any legitimacy that such a cut will not impact Meals on Wheels and similar programs.

    Conservative focus on the relatively small impact of cutting block grants, while ignoring the much larger impact of the HHS cuts, is just as dishonest as the liberal mischaracterizations of the impact of block grant elimination.

  82. Pch101 says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Cherry picking the “facts” that you want–alternative or otherwise–is your modus operandi.

    That cherrypicking is combined with a hobby of taking facts out of context while missing the big picture.

    I have my doubts that this is deliberate. Rather, it’s difficult for anyone who is adept at research, analysis and understanding the big picture to be a modern American conservative, given the most of the movement is based upon denying reality and basing positions upon “facts” that are largely or entirely untrue.

    It’s pretty clear to me that Hal doesn’t know a damned thing about CDBG or how it works. (Ironically, conservatives should like it, since it empowers local government to make specific funding decisions.) Attempting to learn about this sort of thing from Reason makes as much sense as relying upon Mein Kampf to learn about Judaism.

    The bottom line is that cutting funding to programs such as CDBG largely hurts poor people by cutting funding to programs that serve them. Inevitably, this means that fewer meals will be served — it can be said without hyperbole that this will literally kill some people.

  83. wr says:

    @Pch101: “Burnside would have had more luck if Hal had been on his jury.”

    If Burnside had been rich and white. Remember, Hal is a libertarian.

  84. Hal_10000 says:

    So we’ve gone from “Trump is gutting Meals on Wheels!” to “well, unspecified budgets cuts could impact it, maybe”. Who exactly is selective in their facts? You’ve got that Right Wing rag Mother Jones agreeing that a huge talking point is largely untrue and the quote attributed to Mulvaney is cherry-picked. But you be you. I was wrong on MOW’s funding (based on my reading of a CNN article) and linked a source you don’t like, so whatevs.

    The biggest problem with opposing Trump is that have endured a series of these garbage stories that are endlessly retweeted and repeated before anyone bothers to check whether they’re true or not. Russians changed the votes in three states, Mnuchin foreclosed on a woman over a 27-cent bill, the White House web pages were “purged”, Trump removed sanctions on Russia, the firing of US attorneys was unprecedented, Meals on Wheels funding has been gutted. It’s making it harder and harder to keep the broader public — who aren’t political junkies — focused on the real problems with this Administration. At least once a week, I get a call from a Trump-supporting relative about how the media can’t be trusted because an anti-Trump story turned out to be nonsense.

    I noted above that the more alarming cuts to NIH, EPA and climate research are all too real. But it doesn’t grab the mind like starving seniors, I guess.

  85. David M says:


    garbage stories that are endlessly retweeted and repeated before anyone bothers to check whether they’re true or not. Russians changed the votes in three states, Mnuchin foreclosed on a woman over a 27-cent bill, the White House web pages were “purged”, Trump removed sanctions on Russia, the firing of US attorneys was unprecedented

    Welcome to the internet and twitter, I’m sorry you’ve been asleep these last 20 years. What’s inexplicable is that you seem to be advocating ignoring well sourced news stories because of unrelated nonsense. Seems to be how we ended up with Trump.

  86. JohnMcC says:

    @Hal_10000: Yeah, those Albanian & Macedonian fake-news factories have been having a hell of a time on the Trump budget haven’t they. Probably Guccifer also. Glen Greenwald is probably about to reveal it as neo-liberalism. Your family has my sympathy.

  87. Mikey says:


    I noted above that the more alarming cuts to NIH, EPA and climate research are all too real. But it doesn’t grab the mind like starving seniors, I guess.

    No, it doesn’t. But that’s how people’s minds work. Climate change is nebulous and long-term, but many people know a specific senior citizen who has benefited from Meals on Wheels.

    And at least the left has erred on the side of providing a much-needed service. Conservatives are trying to dismiss the impact of funding cuts by denying most of the funding even exists.

  88. Rick DeMent says:


    After having to spend more time of my life then I care to listening to people yammer on about “Death Panels”, Mushroom clouds over New York”, “everyone is going to take you gun away”, “Obama is leading us to slavery”, “Tax cuts for the Rich grow the economy” and a long long litany of other outright nonsense, overstating the impact of the impact on the Meals On Wheels program due to the cuts to CDBG and HHS seems almost comically nitpicky.

  89. Hal_10000 says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    And after years of watching people use those BS stories to defuse any criticism of Obama, you’ll see why I’m on about it.

  90. Monala says:

    @Hal_10000: So, what do you make of those post-election reflections that say part of the problem why the Democrats lost (and why Hilary Clinton lost in particular) has to do with the fact that Trump appeals to people’s emotions, and the Democrats and Clinton in particular rely too much on dry, boring policy prescriptions, which doesn’t win elections?

    There is a lot of truth to that, and the fact that the soaring oratory of President Obama and the “I feel your pain” charisma of Bill Clinton allowed them to prevail over emotion-laden rightwing propaganda in ways that more wonkish politicians like Hilary Clinton (or Gore or Kerry) can’t do.

    Be honest – how far would Democrats get by opposing the consequences of this budget if they simply cited a bunch of 100% accurate but dry statistics, vs. putting a familiar name (Meals on Wheels) and human face (your grandma) to the issue?