Thursday, March 16, 2017

Trump's Lethal Budget

Anyone who has worked for a large organization has seen them. They're the old hands, the keepers of the keys, and you're likely to find them neither at the very top nor at the very bottom but dispersed throughout all the strata in between. They are the "institutional memory." Collectively they're the irreplaceable repository of  the facts, concepts, experiences and knowledge essential to the proper functioning of the organization. If all goes well they groom their successors, pass along their knowledge, so that there's a continuum. Yet, if they're taken down suddenly, it can create disorder, even chaos.

Donald Trump may be about to inflict chaos on the U.S. federal government. Today he'll send a "slash and burn" budget proposal to Congress that may inflict lasting damage on the functioning of the bureaucracy.

The budget would cut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31 per cent, the State Department by 28 per cent and Health and Human Services by 17.9 per cent. Funding to several smaller government agencies that have long been targets of conservatives - like the Legal Services Corporation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts - would be axed entirely.

The most significant cuts would be at the EPA, which the Trump administration has accused of overreach. The president wants to trim $US2.6 billion from the agency's budget, in part by cutting about 3,200 positions, about a fifth of the department's work force.

If enacted, the proposal would cut the agency's budget to its lowest level in 40 years, adjusted for inflation. That would mean eliminating funding for climate change research, closing state environmental programs and ending regional projects like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has bipartisan support.

Mr Trump would also cut funding to the United Nations for its climate change efforts, and curb contributions to its peacekeeping efforts. Contributions to the World Bank would be cut by $US650 million, and economic and development assistance would be "refocused" to countries of greatest strategic interest to the United States.

The brunt of the cuts at the Department of Health and Human Services would be at the National Institutes of Health, the country's medical research hub. The $US403 million currently used for training nurses and other medical professionals would also be eliminated.

Mr Trump's team also proposed a wide array of cuts to public education, Amtrak and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, including eliminating the $US3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which funds popular programs like Meals on Wheels, housing assistance and other community assistance efforts.

Guns, Not Butter.

Much of the money saved by these cuts would go to national security programs.

Besides the military, the Department of Homeland Security would also receive an infusion of cash. An additional $US2.8 billion would go largely to pay for a wall along the border with Mexico and the hiring of 500 Border Patrol Agents and 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers next year. The budget also calls for the hiring of 20 lawyers in the Justice Department who would work to obtain land along the border for the wall.

The Exodus is Already Well Underway

In several federal departments, the Old Hands have been taking their leave since Trump was inaugurated. The Washington Post reported on an exodus from the State Department just a week after Trump was sworn in.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

A demoralized public service is not going to attract A-List talent. There's too much uncertainty, too much of a learning curve in a chaotic administration. When you see that the best and the brightest have bailed out en masse that's a pretty big disincentive. 


Anonymous said...

Deconstructing the administrative state is Bannon's plan. The budget reflects that. Whether Congress goes along with it remains to be seen, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for pushback. Many of the cuts to services have been GOP talking points for years.


The Mound of Sound said...

Bannon's delusions are ultimately nihilistic. There is already pushback coming from the Senate - on the Republican as well as Democratic side.

Anonymous said...

A demoralized public service is not going to attract A-List talent. There's too much uncertainty, too much of a learning curve in a chaotic administration. When you see that the best and the brightest have bailed out en masse that's a pretty big disincentive.

That leaves the possibility of second and third rate officials taking control of the State Department.

History is repeating itself.
This is Hitler's rise to power all over again.

Last year I experienced the power hungry USA customs 'operatives'
They were on a power trip over my storage of vegetables in my RV.
I have never been so humiliated over a package of tomatoes!
GI Joe has nothing on these people.

Now ,under Trump,these grade 10 failures have absolute power and are determined to use it!

Just think what this means at the higher level of the State Department??
The school bully is going to have an orgasam.


John B. said...

It isn't Trump's private company. He doesn't care if he has the A-listers on staff. Provided he can be shielded from the shareholders as long as he needs to be, an incompetent in office would always rather be surrounded by toadies and mediocrities who wouldn't say shit if they had a mouthful. That's the only way he can maintain a comfort zone. He cares more about that than about what will happen to the organization after it's served his purposes.

It's the mother of all wrecking crews. Bannon said in plain language that this was his mission. Stupid evil supercedes evil.

Anonymous said...

"History is repeating itself. This is Hitler's rise to power all over again."

Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to make huge asses of themselves opening their pie holes on the subject. LOLOLOLOL

Gotta say I'm enjoying the Trump Show a lot more than I was expecting. Never watched anything of his before. Never liked him much - until he became president of the US of A and turned fake-left fake-progressive cucks into hysterical assholes!

Remember the best way to get your way is to hold your breath until you're blue in the face! And protesting! Lots and lots of protesting. You haven't accomplished anything in 50 years with all your childish antics, but it has to start working sometime, right? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

(Make sure you wear the pussy hats! You want your cause to be taken seriously!)

crf said...

Blow up Mount Rushmore. None of those Presidents have any principles in common with the current President or Congress of the US.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:09 - I see you've finally reached puberty. Congratulations, don't hurt yourself.

mr perfect