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This morning I read, as I always do, the Daily Shot. And as always I enjoy it. Well written, informative and humorous. I have quoted from it many times to friends, always giving credit and encouraging visits to Ricochet.

I did think that in one place this morning that it was not quite a bull’s eye: And, since it reminded me (legitimately or not) of shrieks I have heard from some that are, shall we say, a bit less conservative than yours truly, I came straight here.

Trump has proposed eliminating, among other things, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have several relatives supported in part by these programs. I have enjoyed some programs funded in part by the CPB and the NEA.

Some are horrified that anyone could even dream of removing Federal funding for these hallowed programs. I, on the other hand, laugh in delight. I do not believe the Feds should force me to support art that isn’t, humanities that are anti-human, or the broadcast of propaganda from the right or the left.

Daily Shot – and many others – sound like, because these programs are such a trivial slice of the budget, and since Trump’s proposed budget doesn’t touch entitlements, it doesn’t matter if we leave these things in the budget or not. It may be that I’m interpreting incorrectly, or that I’m reading between the lines something that simply isn’t there, but what I think I read bothers me. Because if we can’t cut these nickel and dime programs, how will we ever cut the big budget items? Some of us object to the basic principle of Federal assistance for these things. Some of us also object to the basic principle of Federal provision of retirement and welfare programs. Should we wait until we can get rid of it all before we eliminate any of this stuff? May it never be. The list of programs Trump has proposed cutting ought not, in my opinion, be any sort of Federal program. The list of programs ought to be miles longer. Let’s eliminate them all, great or small. Let us start somewhere, anywhere, please!

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Members have made 43 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Brian Wolf Thatcher

    Chuckles: Because if we can’t cut these nickel and dime programs, how will we ever cut the big budget items? Some of us object to the basic principle of Federal assistance for these things. Some of us also object to the basic principle of Federal provision of retirement and welfare programs. Should we wait until we can get rid of it all before we eliminate any of this stuff?

    Right on! I am with you on this 100%

    • #1
    • March 17, 2017 at 8:55 am
  2. Profile photo of Quake Voter Thatcher

    Chuckles, it’s really just template NeverTrump pick and roll, unfortunately.

    Honestly, why compare the programs Trump proposes to eliminate outright (which do amount to about $3 billion) to the $54 billion increase in defense spending? Why not compare the $54 billion dollars in total cuts to that increase in defense spending.

    And why not compare Trump’s proposal to the “dead on arrival” comments from those true fiscal conservatives like Senator Rubio?

    As for the lack of any budget cutting to entitlements, isn’t Trump supporting the complete restructuring of Medicaid within the tentpoles of the ACHA?

    It’s just NeverTrump hide-the-ball snark.

    • #2
    • March 17, 2017 at 9:18 am
  3. Profile photo of Matt Y. Member

    The problem is that people always focus on cutting these discretionary spending items, and often act like cutting these things – and eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse” – is actually going to have a significant impact on the budget. Politicians especially do this. Trump did it in in the last election, and Gingrich did it in the 2012 election – didn’t Gingrich also come out against Ryan’s entitlement reform ideas, like Trump? And this is not “NeverTrump” unique stuff – we’ve been saying this for awhile. If the administration and its apologists will tout these cuts as really being big cuts to government spending, then that’s the problem. If this is what “draining the swamp” means, then meh.

    I agree I can probably support a lot of these cuts, if not all of them – I haven’t really looked into them in detail.

    Because if we can’t cut these nickel and dime programs, how will we ever cut the big budget items?

    I think this is kind of comparing apples and oranges. Not really relevant. It’s discretionary spending, which is included in the budget, and nondiscretionary spending, which happens anyway and would involve reforms outside of the budget process.

    • #3
    • March 17, 2017 at 10:09 am
  4. Profile photo of Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles Post author

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Chuckles, it’s really just template NeverTrump pick and roll, unfortunately.

    Honestly, why compare the programs Trump proposes to eliminate outright (which do amount to about $3 billion) to the $54 billion increase in defense spending? Why not compare the $54 billion dollars in total cuts to that increase in defense spending.

    And why not compare Trump’s proposal to the “dead on arrival” comments from those true fiscal conservatives like Senator Rubio?

    As for the lack of any budget cutting to entitlements, isn’t Trump supporting the complete restructuring of Medicare within the tentpoles of the ACHA?

    It’s just NeverTrump hide-the-ball snark.

    There may be some of that, particularly unconsciously, but I just cannot believe that folks like Jon Gabriel and Fred Cole deliberately write with malice aforethought, that a desire to injure Trump outweighs truth and fairness. For certain career politicians you are probably correct.

    Insofar as the “dead on arrival” quote, I expect you know that absent a groundswell of conservative grassroots activism Trump’s proposed cuts will in fact prove to be DOA.

    Here’s where I am: If the Pelosi Herself were to push these cuts, I’d help her to succeed.

    • #4
    • March 17, 2017 at 10:16 am
  5. Profile photo of Jager Member

    Brian Wolf (View Comment):

    Chuckles: Because if we can’t cut these nickel and dime programs, how will we ever cut the big budget items? Some of us object to the basic principle of Federal assistance for these things. Some of us also object to the basic principle of Federal provision of retirement and welfare programs. Should we wait until we can get rid of it all before we eliminate any of this stuff?

    Right on! I am with you on this 100%

    I agree fully with this. Things like Federal provision of retirement and Welfare are real money going directly to people. The political will, to cut or greatly reform these issues that give money directly to citizens, does not exist as long as the government is wasting billions of dollars on other stuff.

    If you can not fix the small stuff, you will never get to the big stuff.

    • #5
    • March 17, 2017 at 10:53 am
  6. Profile photo of Susan Quinn Contributor

    It’s important to remember that this is not a budget, per se; it is a list of recommendations, to alert Congress to Trump’s orientation. I celebrate that he is saying that the Federal government has to get out of the business of acting like a non-profit. Organizations like Meals on Wheels only get a pittance from the government (I think it’s 3% of the total funding); I’ve no doubt that their patrons and new donors will step up and support them. Let’s ask our government to do what they’re supposed to do: govern. Good post, Chuckles!

    • #6
    • March 17, 2017 at 1:23 pm
  7. Profile photo of Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles Post author

    @susanquinn,

    Every now and then even a blind hog finds an acorn.

    Thanks for the good word!

    • #7
    • March 17, 2017 at 1:39 pm
  8. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Jager (View Comment):
    If you can not fix the small stuff, you will never get to the big stuff.

    The Trump budget cuts are $54M over ten years. [Correction: $54B]

    Social Security will spend $39B this year.

    The total discretionary budget (no old people, old sick people, or poor sick people welfare) is $1.241T, and our total entitlement spending is about $2.5T

    To say that we can’t fix the big stuff before we fix the small stuff is like saying a family with a $2,000/mo mortgage move to a cheaper house until they scrimp enough to bring their monthly discretionary spending from $1,000.03 [Correction: $1,030] to $1,000.

    Of course there’s plenty of waste in the federal budget, and conservatives should do all they can to eliminate it, if for no other reason than to bring the government back in line with a sensible interpretation of the Constitution. But let’s not kid ourselves that our debt and entitlement crises are going to be solved by cutting tiny programs.

    • #8
    • March 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm
  9. Profile photo of Randy Webster Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    I think this is kind of comparing apples and oranges. Not really relevant. It’s discretionary spending, which is included in the budget, and nondiscretionary spending, which happens anyway and would involve reforms outside of the budget process.

    I’m not even sure what “non-discretionary spending” means. Congress can cut any spending it wants. Do they say non-discretionary only so that it sounds like they can’t cut it?

    • #9
    • March 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm
  10. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    I think this is kind of comparing apples and oranges. Not really relevant. It’s discretionary spending, which is included in the budget, and nondiscretionary spending, which happens anyway and would involve reforms outside of the budget process.

    I’m not even sure what “non-discretionary spending” means. Congress can cut any spending it wants. Do they say non-discretionary only so that it sounds like they can’t cut it?

    Ask, and you shall receive:

    Mandatory spending pays for U.S. Federal programs that have already been established by Congress under so-called authorization laws. These laws both establish the federal programs and mandate that Congress must appropriate whatever funds are needed to keep the programs running. In other words, Congress cannot reduce the funding for these programs without changing the authorization law itself…

    Some authorization laws provide direct spending to recipients. These include the major entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Other programs include student loans, unemployment insurance, homeowner’s assistance, and Obamacare subsidies.

    Source

    • #10
    • March 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm
  11. Profile photo of Chuckles Thatcher
    Chuckles Post author

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    I think this is kind of comparing apples and oranges. Not really relevant. It’s discretionary spending, which is included in the budget, and nondiscretionary spending, which happens anyway and would involve reforms outside of the budget process.

    I’m not even sure what “non-discretionary spending” means. Congress can cut any spending it wants. Do they say non-discretionary only so that it sounds like they can’t cut it?

    Ask, and you shall receive:

    Mandatory spending pays for U.S. Federal programs that have already been established by Congress under so-called authorization laws. These laws both establish the federal programs and mandate that Congress must appropriate whatever funds are needed to keep the programs running. In other words, Congress cannot reduce the funding for these programs without changing the authorization law itself…

    Some authorization laws provide direct spending to recipients. These include the major entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    Other programs include student loans, unemployment insurance, homeowner’s assistance, and Obamacare subsidies.

    Source

    Interesting – but who is putting whom in jail if Congress fails to appropriate the funds they are by law required to appropriate?

    • #11
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:05 pm
  12. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    The problem is that people always focus on cutting these discretionary spending items, and often act like cutting these things – and eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse” – is actually going to have a significant impact on the budget. Politicians especially do this. Trump did it in in the last election, and Gingrich did it in the 2012 election – didn’t Gingrich also come out against Ryan’s entitlement reform ideas, like Trump? And this is not “NeverTrump” unique stuff – we’ve been saying this for awhile. If the administration and its apologists will tout these cuts as really being big cuts to government spending, then that’s the problem. If this is what “draining the swamp” means, then meh.

    I agree I can probably support a lot of these cuts, if not all of them – I haven’t really looked into them in detail.

    Because if we can’t cut these nickel and dime programs, how will we ever cut the big budget items?

    I think this is kind of comparing apples and oranges. Not really relevant. It’s discretionary spending, which is included in the budget, and nondiscretionary spending, which happens anyway and would involve reforms outside of the budget process.

    Your words here are no more meaningful than those you take issue with. All federal spending is discretionary. Our representatives have just created another illusion so they can avoid dealing with tough issues they might have to stand on at election time.

    • #12
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm
  13. Profile photo of Quake Voter Thatcher

    Chuckles (View Comment):

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Chuckles, it’s really just template NeverTrump pick and roll, unfortunately.

    Honestly, why compare the programs Trump proposes to eliminate outright (which do amount to about $3 billion) to the $54 billion increase in defense spending? Why not compare the $54 billion dollars in total cuts to that increase in defense spending.

    And why not compare Trump’s proposal to the “dead on arrival” comments from those true fiscal conservatives like Senator Rubio?

    As for the lack of any budget cutting to entitlements, isn’t Trump supporting the complete restructuring of Medicare within the tentpoles of the ACHA?

    It’s just NeverTrump hide-the-ball snark.

    There may be some of that, particularly unconsciously, but I just cannot believe that folks like Jon Gabriel and Fred Cole deliberately write with malice aforethought, that a desire to injure Trump outweighs truth and fairness. For certain career politicians you are probably correct.

    Insofar as the “dead on arrival” quote, I expect you know that absent a groundswell of conservative grassroots activism Trump’s proposed cuts will in fact prove to be DOA.

    Here’s where I am: If the Pelosi Herself were to push these cuts, I’d help her to succeed.

    Not suggesting anyone is writing with malice, but we all write from our priors, especially without critical feedback.

    Trump proposed very large cuts to non-discretionary spending: $54 billion. Using cute rhetorical reductions to $3 billion is gaming the argument.

    These proposed cuts have been characterized as dead on arrival by a number of GOP leaders who, we were told, are genuine conservatives. Well, you can deal with that (an opportunity for some non-Trump snark) or ignore it.

    Trump seems very willing to go beyond Ryan’s reforms and cap new Medicaid enrollment in 2019 and establish a work requirement. Look at the Arizona precedent for what that can accomplish. Or, again, just ignore that and continue to parrot that “Trump won’t do anything about entitlement spending” meme.

    Who amongst the supposed fiscal conservative leaders in the Senate is willing to support real spending cuts in the next few years apart from Ted Cruz and Rand Paul? Sure demographic adjustments to Social Security which start to take effect in 2035 look good on the balance sheet. So do chained CPI formulas applied to benefits for those under the age of 45 … in 2040. All those savings presume no Democratic control of Congress and POTUS in the next 20 years which repeals them.

    Trump has proposed some real cuts in discretionary domestic spending and the restructuring of one of the three major entitlement programs.

    Reducing that to elimination of the NEH, NEA and NPR is intellectually dishonest NT spin.

    • #13
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:31 pm
  14. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    It’s important to remember that this is not a budget, per se; it is a list of recommendations, to alert Congress to Trump’s orientation. I celebrate that he is saying that the Federal government has to get out of the business of acting like a non-profit. Organizations like Meals on Wheels only get a pittance from the government (I think it’s 3% of the total funding); I’ve no doubt that their patrons and new donors will step up and support them. Let’s ask our government to do what they’re supposed to do: govern. Good post, Chuckles!

    I think this is correct. Trump has submitted a budget that shows some understanding of the role of the federal government. National defense is first. If he can be sustained and supported in these first years I think he will get to entitlements. A big one, Obamacare, is on the table now and our Republicans are already wavering.

    • #14
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:34 pm
  15. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    The big ones will either be addressed in 2021 or 2025. The clock ticks but I 100% support cutting these piddly items ( by comparison) because it gets our people and our leaders ready for the serious work….. if anybody ever has the stomach for it.

    • #15
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm
  16. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):
    Trump proposed very large cuts to non-discretionary spending: $54 billion. Using cute rhetorical reductions to $3 billion is gaming the argument.

    That’s not a very large cut. $54 billion over 10 years is $5.4 billion a year. (I will go fix my math further up, as I realize I made a mistake.)

    The discretionary budget is $1.5 trillion/yr, making this “very large” cut 3%. ( And it’s not even being “cut,” just diverted to the military.)

    I don’t know about you, but when my husband says we need to make a large cut in our discretionary spending, I don’t respond by saying, “Okay, I’ll buy one less tank of gas. That should do it.”

    • #16
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm
  17. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    If the House goes with what Ryan has on the table for Obamacare, many of our representatives will be able to evade commitments they made in their election campaign. Nothing in this overall process of repeal and replace is different from what was in the six times a repeal bill was passed by the House while Obama was POTUS. But this time it is real, not play, so they don’t want to be on the record. I want to see a vote for full repeal just like the previous votes and that’s what I told my Congressman. If they do that and it passes, then we can see what our Senators actually do when the vote has some meaning. If it doesn’t pass the House, we’ll see how many liars we have there. Then whatever they do pass that goes to the Senate will give us real information for the next election. This is also a test case for cutting entitlements because if something is not done now, healthcare subsidies will be just like the entitlements we already have.

    • #17
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:47 pm
  18. Profile photo of Randal H Member

    The reason to cut discretionary spending in my opinion has less to do with decreasing the budget deficit than with increasing freedom, not only from bureaucratic overreach but from government funded pro-government propaganda. I’d be for cutting bureaucracy, regulation, and endowments even if it wound up costing more in taxes.

    • #18
    • March 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm
  19. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Randal H (View Comment):
    The reason to cut discretionary spending in my opinion has less to do with decreasing the budget deficit than with increasing freedom, not only from bureaucratic overreach but from government funded pro-government propaganda. I’d be for cutting bureaucracy, regulation, and endowments even if it wound up costing more in taxes.

    Yeah, there are many good reasons to cut these programs. “We’re trying to balance the budget!” just ain’t one of them.

    • #19
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:01 pm
  20. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Randal H (View Comment):
    The reason to cut discretionary spending in my opinion has less to do with decreasing the budget deficit than with increasing freedom, not only from bureaucratic overreach but from government funded pro-government propaganda. I’d be for cutting bureaucracy, regulation, and endowments even if it wound up costing more in taxes.

    Yeah, there are many good reasons to cut these programs. “We’re trying to balance the budget!” just ain’t one of them.

    Have you actually seen that claim? The cuts in Trumps submission show a willingness to cut. With the Obamacare issue on the table, there is no way to address other entitlements this year.

    • #20
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:16 pm
  21. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    The last time I did the research, 75% of Federal Spending (which stands in the $4,000,000,000,000 per year range) was made up of Medicare, Social Security, and the Military. Cutting $5,400,000,000 from that does, statistically speaking, nothing. When I do that math in Excel, and then convert it to percentage, Excel turns it in to a “0%”. I have to run the decimals out a bit to get to .14% So, great, we have proposed to cut .14% from the Federal Government. Now, $5.4B is a lot of money. I’ll take .14% of that ($7.3M) any day. Whether this means anything or not really depends on what your goal is.

    If the goal is to reduce the deficit then, as Amy points out, just forget it. You’ve done a poor job. When my Outlook mailbox is full I do not sort it by size, in ascending order. Why would I try and sort through thousands of emails, the sizes of which range in the single digit kilobytes? No, I do the reverse. And in minutes I eliminate hundreds of megabytes.

    If the goal is to eliminate useless federal programs, then you might be able to say you did some good.

    If the goal is to pretend that you kept your promises, and blame any failures on a recalcitrant congress, this is a good way to do it. And let’s face it, whether it is your guy in office….

    • #21
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:29 pm
  22. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    (I do not like this Cooolidge business)

    I continue:

    If the goal is to pretend that you kept your promises, and blame any failures on a recalcitrant congress, this is a good way to do it. And let’s face it, whether it is your guy in office or not, this is almost always the goal.

    • #22
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm
  23. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    • #23
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm
  24. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    • #24
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm
  25. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    “Revenue neutral?” That’s not what we sent them there to do…

    • #25
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:43 pm
  26. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    “Revenue neutral?” That’s not what we sent them there to do…

    It’s Trump’s proposed budget, not Congress’s. My recollection may be fuzzy, but I don’t remember anyone wanting to vote for Trump because he was a fiscal conservative.

    Though I still hold out hope that he will do major entitlement reform, as he has a proven track record of screwing over people who want money from him when there’s not enough for everyone.

    • #26
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm
  27. Profile photo of Bob Thompson Member

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    “Revenue neutral?” That’s not what we sent them there to do…

    It’s Trump’s proposed budget, not Congress’s. My recollection may be fuzzy, but I don’t remember anyone wanting to vote for Trump because he was a fiscal conservative.

    Though I still hold out hope that he will do major entitlement reform, as he has a proven track record of screwing over people who want money from him when there’s not enough for everyone.

    He didn’t say who ‘them’ is. And they lie, anyway.

    • #27
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:51 pm
  28. Profile photo of Amy Schley Member

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    “Revenue neutral?” That’s not what we sent them there to do…

    It’s Trump’s proposed budget, not Congress’s. My recollection may be fuzzy, but I don’t remember anyone wanting to vote for Trump because he was a fiscal conservative.

    Though I still hold out hope that he will do major entitlement reform, as he has a proven track record of screwing over people who want money from him when there’s not enough for everyone.

    He didn’t say who ‘them’ is. And they lie, anyway.

    Granted. I’m just suggesting that until we see the House’s budget, it’s too early to start blaming Congressional Republicans. I’m sure there will be plenty of reasons to suggest they betrayed their constituents, but fairness requires we blame them for their own bad budget, not Trump’s.

    • #28
    • March 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm
  29. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):
    Wait, where did the $54B cut come from? Because I read that it’s a $54B increase to military spending…?

    It’s a revenue neutral budget. $54B over ten years from a bunch of departments and sending it to the military.

    “Revenue neutral?” That’s not what we sent them there to do…

    It’s Trump’s proposed budget, not Congress’s. My recollection may be fuzzy, but I don’t remember anyone wanting to vote for Trump because he was a fiscal conservative.

    Though I still hold out hope that he will do major entitlement reform, as he has a proven track record of screwing over people who want money from him when there’s not enough for everyone.

    That’s as compelling an endorsement from Trump as I’ve ever read…

    • #29
    • March 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm
  30. Profile photo of Spin Coolidge

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    them

    Them is that whole pack of lying snakes in Washington DC.

    • #30
    • March 17, 2017 at 5:02 pm
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