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How to pay for Trump's $54 billion defense spending increase--a modest proposal

By       Message Robert Adler       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   5 comments

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On February 27, President Trump announced his new "public safety and national security" budget. The centerpiece is a $54 billion boost to the military, to be paid for by equal cuts to social, educational, environmental health and other less essential government programs. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of State reportedly are first in line at the chopping block.

David Koch--worth $39.6 billion--the first to pitch in?
(Image by Gage Skidmore)
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Unfortunately, $54 billion in cuts will do some serious damage. As reported in the New York Times, longtime federal-budget specialist Bill Hoagland comments, "I don't know how you take $54 billion out without wholesale taking out entire departments."

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In other words, securing our safety and security by pumping up our military muscle will inflict a lot of pain on school children and their teachers, workers, the poor and disabled, and those of us who have gotten used to clean air and water, safe food and drugs, and a functioning federal government.

However, there's a simple way to come up with $54 billion, one that would impact fewer than two dozen people rather than hundreds of millions of us. Why not ask Trump, his cabinet members and his billionaire backers to help out?

Trump and his cabinet are worth about $13 billion. If we add in just the top dozen trump supporters--billionaires like the Koch brothers, Robert Mercer, Peter Thiel and Sheldon Adelson, all of whom pumped cash into Trump's campaign, we gain another $163 billion. So Trump, his cabinet, and twelve of his biggest backers have a combined worth of $176 billion.

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Given their obvious patriotism and the fervent support for Trump demonstrated by their generous contributions to his election, I have no doubt that these munificent citizens would be happy to contribute, say, 30 percent of their worth to pay for the bigger and better armed forces we so urgently need. That would neatly cover the $54 billion price tag. Remarkably, even after such a generous gift, all of these billionaires would still be incredibly rich.

Not even counting the fame and accolades that these gifts would garner, their generosity would not go unrewarded. According to Forbes, the wealthiest one-tenth of one percent of the population would receive 24 percent of the tax cuts Trump is proposing, or just under $1.5 trillion, and will see their income increase by an average of 14.2 percent. With that $1.5 trillion pie to divide up, I think it's safe to say that it would not be long before those generous billionaires will be richer than before. Talk about a win-win solution!

So ladies and gentlemen of the billionaire class, and not just Trump appointees and supporters, please consider this an open invitation. With your combined net worth of $2.4 trillion, just think of the problems you could solve.

I can't wait to see who will be the first to step up. Bill, Warren, Jeff, Mark, Larry, Michael, Charles, David, Jim, Alice, Sheldon .... Don't be shy.


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I'm a retired psychologist and freelance writer focusing on science, technology and fact-based political and social commentary.

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How to pay for Trump's $54 billion defense spending increase--a modest proposal