I am a big believer in cutting government and I would probably be behind President Trump’s budget proposal if it weren’t for the increases in military spending.
Under Hillary Clinton’s reign, the State Department failed so badly at the job of promoting peace that the American personnel ended up in two expanded wars we didn’t need to be in (Afghanistan and Iraq) and four new wars we didn’t need to be in (Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Ukraine). Yeah, we like to think that because we didn’t commit ground troops to these wars, that we weren’t involved. That’s foolish and untrue.
I can’t find when a president has ever offered a budget proposal that was less than the previous budget … maybe it’s never happened. Trump should get some credit for being willing to cut the domestic budget. Unfortunately, he wants to add more money to the largest military in the world. That makes me feel less safe rather than more.
That aside, the rest of the budget makes some good sense. He wants to cut the State Department and USAID by $10 billion (a 28% decrease from 2017). The budget outlines a 31% cut in funding for the EPA, which might mean I can afford to heat my home next winter, since the EPA is trying to take wood burning away from us here in Fairbanks.
Within several Departments, he would eliminate duplicative programs that exist elsewhere. About 62 programs would be affected.
Trump’s blueprint proposes to eliminate funding for 19 independent agencies which exist outside of the federal departments headed by a Cabinet secretary. Understand that these agencies are not accountable to the taxpayers or voters in anyway. They stand outside of the Executive Branch and the only control Congress has over them in to defund them.
Here’s a snapshot of the mission and history of the 19 independent agencies President Donald Trump said he would stop funding entirely under his “budget blueprint.” Trump’s proposal also calls for deep cuts in other agencies and departments, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department, and shifts federal resources to defense.
Trump’s budget cuts would make deep gashes into Alaska’s federal funding. And I’m okay with that. But what are some of the agencies Trump wants to cut entirely? Before we get all lathered, maybe we should look at them.
African Development Foundation
Stated mission: The U.S. African Development Foundation is an independent federal agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and -led enterprises, which improve lives and livelihoods in poor and vulnerable African communities.
Established: 1980 (Jimmy Carter was president)
If we had a surplus instead of a debt, maybe, but we don’t, so …. And if we had a surplus, we should be turning it back to the taxpayers.
Appalachian Regional Commission
Stated mission: The Appalachian Regional Commission’s mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.
Established: 1965 (Lyndon Johnson was president).
Chemical Safety Board
Stated mission: The Chemical Safety Board is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the agency’s board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
Established: Under the Clean Air Act of 1990 (Bush 1 was president) (operational in 1998 -when Bill Clinton was president ) I think this is already done by the EPA … or should be.
Corporation for National and Community Service
Stated mission: The Corporation for National and Community Service serves more than 5 million people at a local level through a wide array of services. These include projects in six priority areas: disaster services (isn’t that FEMA’s mission?), economic opportunity (isn’t that the Small Business Adminisration?), education (isn’t that the Dept. of Ed?), environmental stewardship (isn’t that the EPA?), healthy futures (whatever happened to Public Health Centers?), and veterans and military families through CNCS’s core programs: AmeriCorps, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund.
Established: 1993 (under Clinton)
Corporation for Public Broadcasting (Could also be called the Communist Propaganda Bureau)
Stated mission: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s mission is to ensure universal access to noncommercial, high-quality content and telecommunications services. It does so by distributing more than 70 percent of its funding to nearly 1,500 locally owned public radio and television stations. CPB is a private, nonprofit corporation. (Brad and I watch PBS every Friday night and some weekday evenings as well. Believe me when I say that it is highly biased and snarky in the same way that the BBC is extremely biased, manipulative and snarky). PBS would continue to exist. It is 90% supported by local stations and listeners having been put on a reducing diet during the Contract with America in the 1990s.
Established: 1967 (under Johnson)
Delta Regional Authority
Stated mission: The Delta Regional Authority works to improve economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Mississippi River Delta region.
Established: 2000 (under Clinton)
Stated mission: The Denali Commission is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure and economic support throughout Alaska. With the creation of the Denali Commission, Congress acknowledged the need for increased inter-agency cooperation and focus on Alaska’s remote communities.
Established: 1998 (under Clinton)
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Stated mission: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. (Whatever happened to local libraries supported by their local communities? And, there are all these bookstores and Amazon available too.)
Established: 1996 (under Clinton)
Stated mission: To channel development assistance directly to the organized poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Inter-American Foundation also encourages partnerships among community organizations, business and local government directed at improving the quality of life for poor people and strengthening democratic practices.
Established: 1969 (under Nixon)
U.S. Trade and Development Agency
Stated mission: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies. The agency links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership-building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.
Established: 1961 (under Kennedy)
Legal Services Corporation
Stated mission: The Legal Services Corporation is an independent nonprofit organization created to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The LSC promotes equal access to justice by providing funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. Grant recipients serve thousands of low-income individuals, children, families, seniors and veterans in 813 offices in every congressional district.
Established: 1974 (Under Gerald Ford)
National Endowment for the Arts
Stated mission: The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities.
Established: 1965 (under Johnson)
National Endowment for the Humanities
Stated mission: The National Endowment for the Humanities serves and strengthens the republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. It accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.
Established: 1965 (under Johnson)
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation
Stated mission: The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, also known as NeighborWorks America, seeks to promote reinvestment in urban, suburban and rural communities by local financial institutions working cooperatively with residents and local government. It funds 235 organizations, monitors their progress, and provides grants and consulting services.
Established: 1978 (under Carter)
Northern Border Regional Commission
Stated mission: The mission of the Northern Border Regional Commission is to catalyze regional, collaborative and transformative community economic development approaches that alleviate economic distress and position the region along the New England-Canada border for economic growth.
Established: 2008 (under Bush 2)
Overseas Private Investment Corporation
Stated mission: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation is the federal government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges, and in doing so advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities.
Established: 1971 (under Richard Nixon)
U.S. Institute of Peace
Stated mission: The U.S. Institute of Peace works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. USIP does this by engaging directly in conflict zones and by providing analysis, education and resources to those working for peace. (I’m pretty sure this is the State Department’s job in combination with the UN.)
Established: 1984 (under Ronald Reagan)
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness
Stated mission: The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness coordinates and catalyzes the federal response to homelessness, working in close partnership with Cabinet secretaries and other senior leaders across 19 federal member agencies.
Established: 1987 (under Clinton)
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Stated mission: The Wilson Center, chartered by Congress as the official memorial to President Woodrow Wilson, is the nation’s key nonpartisan policy forum for tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue to inform actionable ideas for the policy community. (You know, there are several think tanks that accomplish this goal without federal funds).
Established: 1968 (under Johnson)
These agencies represent a drop in the bucket that is the US federal budget’s corpulence, but it’s a step in the right direction … or would be if President Trump was also not committed to building up our already over-sized military.
Of course, it is only a proposal. Congress makes the actual decisions. Although Trump could follow Barrack Obama’s example and not fund some agencies he didn’t care for.
One thing I’m very interested to see is if the House and Senate actually pass budgets this year. As we should well know, when the House, Senate and White House were all in Democrat control, they were unable to pass a budget. Let’s see if the GOP can do better.