About this insanity of cutting State Dept. by almost 30 percent

Can’t let the day go buy without a post about Trump’s (and Mulvaney’s) insane proposal to cut the State Department by almost 30 percent:

The State Department faces cuts of nearly 29 percent, with $10 billion shaved off its core program funding under proposals to eliminate climate-change initiatives and to slash foreign aid, contributions to the United Nations and cultural exchanges.main-qimg-1e106bd58fc14b936332fa029ea62318

The basic budget for the State Department and USAID, which houses many U.S. development and economic aid programs around the world, will shrink from $36.7 billion to $25.6 billion. The Trump budget also calls for $1.5 billion for Treasury International Programs, a 35 percent reduction from the previous year, a figure the White House included in its discussion of State’s budget. The administration also proposes $12 billion for operations in war-torn areas such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, down from more than $20 billion this year. Overall, the budget would shrink from $52.8 billion to $37.6 billion.

The proposal reflects a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy to an “America First” focus on whether programs meet specific U.S. interests. Many of the spending cuts are in programs whose missions are deemed poorly managed or insufficient in advancing U.S. foreign policy goals….

I’ll also share this from U.S. Global Leadership Coalition’s President and CEO Liz Schrayer:

“America First starts with protecting our national security and as our military leaders are the first to say: hard power alone will not keep America safe. The danger of cutting one-third of our civilian forces at a time of such extreme global threats, famines of historic proportions, and a refugee crisis not seen since World War II is unimaginable.

This debate between hard and soft power is a relic of the Cold War that ended after 9/11. Congress must recognize that we face complex 21st century threats from the rise of ISIS to the pandemics that can show up on our shores. Reject these dangerous cuts to diplomacy and development and invest in smart power – military and civilian tools alike. The stakes are just too high for America to retreat.”

Note the statements from religious, business, NGO and military leaders linked from that page.

Incidentally, the USGLC is the outfit that SC GOP Chair Matt Moore is leaving to go work for.

Here’s a statement on this stuff from Lindsey Graham:

“Historically, presidential budgets do not fare well with Congress.

“I appreciate that this budget increases defense spending, yet these increases in defense come at the expense of national security, soft power, and other priorities.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and President Trump to create a budget that is fiscally responsible, makes our country safer, and preserves wise investments in our future.”

Graham isn’t alone. Overall, his budget is not faring well with Republicans in Congress:

Defense hawks, rural conservatives and even some of Donald Trump’s most vocal supporters in Congress sharply criticized the president’s first budget proposal on Thursday, pushing back on the huge potential hike in defense spending as insufficient and decrying some other cuts to federal agencies and programs.

Capitol Hill Republicans, however, did not seem terribly worried about the prospect of such a budget being enacted, stating matter-of-factly that it is Congress, after all, that controls the purse strings.

“Presidents propose, Congress disposes,” said Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) the former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “We’ve not had our chance yet.”

Rogers was one of several GOP lawmakers to dismiss Trump’s budget as a pie-in-the sky wishlist with little hope of surviving negotiations in Congress. Most Republicans gave passing support to Trump’s general goal of increasing defense spending while reducing costs elsewhere in the budget. But none would embrace the specific White House blueprint….

You notice something? All these people who know something about governing are on one side, and the new “outsider” president is on the other. You know why? Because he and his loyal retainers, who wouldn’t know a fact if it bit them on the… ankle…,  don’t have a clue.

15 thoughts on “About this insanity of cutting State Dept. by almost 30 percent

  1. bud

    The very first thing I’d cut is the amount of money we spend on all of Trump’s vacations plus his extra residence in Manhattan. It’s costing the taxpayers something like 10 times as much as it cost to do the same things for the Obamas.

    Of course what caught my eye was the utterly obnoxious increase in military spending. We already spend as much as the next 7 nations combined. And we’re cutting meals on wheels for this?

    1. Claus2

      I didn’t hear bud complaining about taxpayers paying for Obama vacations or the fact that on several occasions Michelle and his daughters flew on separate jets to the same destination. Or the fact that taxpayers paid for his mother-in-law to go on these vacations. At least Trump isn’t taking a salary while in office, unlike Obama. Trump’s youngest son is still in school, let’s see what happens after the school year is over to see if Trump still goes back to NYC on the weekends. I noticed that the Obama’s didn’t pull their youngest daughter out of school in the middle of the year either.

      The reason we spend as much as 7 other countries is because we’re expected to be the policemen of the world. Let’s reduce military spending by pulling out of Germany, South Korea, Guam, and other countries where we have a large presence.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Let’s not, as anyone who understands anything about the state of the world will tell you. (Why do you INSIST on agreeing with Bud all the time? 🙂 )

        As for the previous — it’s fascinating to me the way Obama-haters fixate on his mother-in-law being around. They really seem to resent it for some reason; I don’t know why. Man, if I were president and my wife and I had young children, I’d sure like to have one of their grandparents there. But whether she was there to help with the kids or not, I have no idea, because I’ve never given it a thought before. The only time I’ve ever even heard anything about her is from the people who think she’s some sort of “gotcha.”

        As for “Trump isn’t taking a salary while in office,” whoop-te-do.

        I remember right after Bobby Kennedy was shot, a lady who was a friend of my mother’s said her family was very upset by the news, and I nodded because EVERYONE was upset about it. She went on to explain (possibly because this was Bennettsville, SC, and in that place she may have felt a NEED to explain) that they had always liked the Kennedys because they didn’t take a salary for their public service. I looked at her but didn’t say anything. I was just 14, and yet even I realized that was an awfully weak reason to support someone politically. First, it’s an awfully easy gesture for a rich man to make. Second, it wouldn’t help a bit if he were unsuited to the office — of senator, or attorney general, or president.

        This is all rather small potatoes — have you seen me talking about all the extra expense Trump is costing us by his refusal to make the White House fully his home (and it IS unprecedented)? But if I DID care about it, I certainly wouldn’t think that not taking a salary would make up for the expense of his unnecessary travel. The president’s salary is considerably below $10 million, the Fortune magazine estimate for what his Mar-a-Lago trips had cost as of Feb. 21…

        1. Claus2

          “young children” as in high school age children? So you don’t mind that the Secret Service has to add more agents to the team to take care of grandma, or that the taxpayers are paying for her hotel rooms, meals, or anything else included on her luxury vacations.

          Did you miss what I said about his kid and school, or just ignore it completely. I realize as a military brat you were used to getting yanked out of school at the drop of a hat but he and the Obama’s both decided to keep their kid in school until at least the end of the school year. If your kid was in school and you worked out of town, would you go home on weekends? I don’t see where the trouble understanding this lays.

          “whoop-te-do”, name another federal politician, excuse me “public servant”, who has refused a salary in the last half of this century? I know there are likely one or two but they’re the exception.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            His kid goes to school at Mar-a-Lago?

            But again, I don’t care. Compared to the impact of the terrible policy judgment the man has, his utter ignorance about the responsibilities of the office, his unbalanced personality and the way his every utterance degrades the office, his salary and the way he wastes millions in taxpayers’ money on his personal predilections are small potatoes.

            As I’ve said so many times, money bores me. But I would think that even those who care deeply about it would realize that a few million here and there doesn’t mean much in the context of the federal budget..

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Here’s what matters to ME about his going to Mar-a-Lago…

              That disturbing scene when he dealt with sensitive national security matters regarding North Korea in full view of the Japanese premier and, far worse, all those Mar-a-Lago patrons who just happened to be there.

              That grotesque exhibitionism (“Look at me! I’m president and I’m dealing with a crisis!”) was deeply offensive in addition to being outrageously insecure.

              And of course, the scene was entirely unnecessary. Had he stayed in Washington, he could have dealt with it in the Situation Room (even at Mar-a-Lago, he could have and should have used the SCIF). Or if he really HAD TO take Abe out of town, he could have taken him to Camp David — and should have.

              But Donald Trump, the tackiest man on the planet, sneers at Camp David. Apparently, the place that was good enough for presidents far, far better than he isn’t classy enough for him, in his limited understanding of the term. Maybe if they sprayed the buildings with gold paint he’d like it better…

              1. Claus2

                I thought you were complaining about him going back to NYC, I am having a hard time keeping track about what you’re currently upset about.

                I’m sure you could have done your job better had you set up a cot in your office at The State. Yet you decided to leave and go home now and then. Obama seemed to love to go to Hawaii even though his hometown was Chicago, I don’t recall you ever griping about that. Bush used to go to his ranch on a regular basis, did you have complaints about that as well?

                Face it, you’re a broken record. You’re going to find any and every excuse to badmouth the President, that’s what you’ve set out to do since he was elected. I guess everyone needs a hobby. It’s getting to the point where it’s just white noise these days.

                I bet if he wore a bowtie you’d consider himself less tacky.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  “what you’re currently upset about”

                  How many times in this thread have I said this stuff doesn’t concern me much one way or the other — whether we’re talking Trump or Obama?

                  Let’s be clear. As I said above, what concerns me is not the travel expenses, but “the impact of the terrible policy judgment the man has, his utter ignorance about the responsibilities of the office, his unbalanced personality and the way his every utterance degrades the office.”

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Yes, I sometimes let myself be pulled into peripheral discussions, when someone is saying something that seems to demand an answer.

                  By the way, I was taking your word for it that Trump wasn’t accepting a salary.

                  However, I happened to see this morning in reading The Washington Post that the White House indicates that so far, he’s keeping his monthly paychecks.

                  Spicer says he’ll give it away at the end of the year. So since he says that, it HAS to be true, right?

                  Just FYI…

      2. Bill

        “Let’s reduce military spending by pulling out of Germany….”

        Well, that would be pretty stupid, since US bases in Germany serve mainly as means to support our operations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It serves our interest to be there.

  2. bud

    The issue with Trumps vacations isn’t the money which is just a tiny part of the federal budget. The problem is the crass optics of these weekly spectacles. His budget will require sacrifice from the elderly and poor. Yet this billionaire spends lavishly on himself whereas his predecessors got by on 10% of what he spends. He really should lead by example.

    1. Dave

      Yes, I do wonder though how many people are movable by the crassness of Trump’s daily behavior. His supporters have drunk copious amounts of the Kool-Aid and I expect his floor of support is much higher than George W. Bush’s. For example, here’s a Washington Post story in which a Trump supporter in Tennessee believes her son’s monthly health care premium fell from $567 to $88 per month due to Trump and his tax credits, when a) that bill hasn’t even been voted on yet by the full House, let alone the Senate, let alone been signed into law by Trump, and b) it was due instead to Obamacare. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/who-to-trust-when-it-comes-to-health-care-reform-trump-supporters-put-their-faith-in-him/2017/03/16/1c702d58-0a64-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.958627ee0ba2

      It’s simply impossible to have a reasoned debate with Trump supporters like this, as many of you are seeing on this blog.

  3. Mark Stewart

    Friday was a(nother) ridiculously bad day for the President and his administration.

    It was just a rolling trainwreck. Why do we need a State Dept. at all if Trump is just going to continue to be the baboon that he is on the world stage? Alienating the Germans, English, Irish al by himself – in just the morning – is an amazing feat of incompetence and hubris. With Mulvany doing his best to alienate as much of America as possible, it was an almost astonishing morning of cluelessness. His attempt at corralling the Congress into rubber-stamping Ryan’s ACA trashing also appeared as ham-handed. Sure he got legislators to agree on camera to support the bill; but the reality will likely be much different down the road when real votes come up and opposition grows.

    The truth is Trump goes down to Florida every weekend because it’s where he can return to his protective Narcissistic bubble. That’s what he craves the Presidency to be, a self-aggrandizing wallowing in self-dealing; not the responsibility that he must face in Washington as an actual world leader.

    I never thought I would ever say that pathetic and the President of the United States would ever be joined in any utterance from me. That, however, is where we are; we have a pathetic Commander-In-Chief fully deserving of this nation’s and the world’s derision. That is just incredulous.

    What will it take to impeach Trump? And how much longer must we wait?

  4. Bill

    The WHOLE of the Mulvaney White House budget is a piece of trash — not just the State Dept component. It’s essence is: waste and vindictiveness. There’s really nothing else that can be said about it.


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