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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 1/14/20

Why Is Trump the Only Candidate With a Budget Proposal?

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An important job of any U.S. president is to propose an annual budget to Congress. Shouldn't it be a basic job of every presidential candidate to propose one to the public? Isn't a budget a critical moral and political document outlining what chunk of our public treasury should go to education or environmental protection or war?

The basic outline of such a budget could consist of a list or a pie chart communicating in dollar amounts and/or percentages how much government spending ought to go where. It's shocking to me that presidential candidates do not produce these.

As far as I have been able to determine, though it's so absurd as to seem improbable, no non-incumbent candidate for U.S. president has ever produced even the roughest outline of a proposed budget, and no debate moderator or major media outlet has ever publicly asked for one.

There are candidates right now who propose major changes to education, healthcare, environmental, and military spending. The numbers, however, remain vague and disconnected. How much, or what percentage, do they want to spend where?

Some candidates might like to produce a revenue / taxation plan as well. "Where will you raise money?" is as important a question as "Where will you spend money?" But "Where will you spend money?" seems like a basic question that any candidate should be asked.

The U.S. Treasury distinguishes three types of U.S. government spending. The largest is mandatory spending. This is made up largely of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but also Veterans' care and other items. The smallest of the three types is interest on debt. In between is the category called discretionary spending. This is the spending that the Congress decides how to spend each year.

What every presidential candidate ought to produce, at a minimum, is a basic outline of a federal discretionary budget. This would serve as a preview of what each candidate would ask the Congress for as president. If candidates feel they need to produce larger budgets outlining changes to mandatory spending as well, so much the better.

President Trump is the one candidate for president in 2020 who has produced a budget proposal (one for each year he's been in office). As analyzed by the National Priorities Project, Trump's latest budget proposal devoted 57% of discretionary spending to militarism (wars and war preparations). This is despite the fact that this analysis treated Homeland Security, Energy (the Energy Department is largely nuclear weapons), and Veterans Affairs each as separate categories not included under the category of militarism.

The U.S. public, in polling over the years, has tended to have no idea what the budget looks like, and once informed to favor a very different budget from the actual one at the time. I'm curious what each person campaigning for the presidency wants the federal budget to look like. Will they put their money (well, our money) where their mouths are? They say they care about many good things, but will they show us how much they care about each of them?

I strongly suspect that most people would recognize the significant differences, and have strong opinions about them, if we were shown a basic pie-chart of spending priorities from each candidate.

 

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 
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2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments  Post Comment


Susan Lee Schwartz

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Love the question

Answer...because he has no policies-- but can lie with impunity, and tell the public what they want to hear.

Budget policy? LOL! Let me remember the defect hawks who want to end social security but gave 1 1.5 trillion dollar tax break to the elites.

Meanwhile, the Dow is over 30,000 while the American workforce is hobbled by deteriorating schools, unaffordable college tuitions, decaying infrastructure, soaring healthcare costs and diminishing basic research... and middle class Americans cannot save for anything, and must choose between rent and medical care as millions are food insecure while Trump cuts food stamps.

"Trump doesn't understand a basic reality of today's global economy: the profitability and competitiveness of American corporations aren't the same as the well-being and competitiveness of Americans American corporations have no particular obligation to the United States. They're obligated to their shareholders. About 30% of the shareholders of large American corporations aren't even American. As global money sloshes ever more quickly across borders, that percentage is growing."

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 5:54:11 PM

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Paul Krumm

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The basic assumption of this article is not valid. Howie Hawkins, a leading Green Party candidate, has a budget.

It can be found at click here

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 16, 2020 at 9:58:02 PM

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