Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Trump hypocrisy continues at home and abroad

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In the Washington Post James Hohmann points out Trump’s double-dealing ways:

THE BIG IDEA: If you studied Donald Trump seriously during the campaign, nothing about his first four months in office has been terribly surprising. The former reality television star’s life has always been clouded by chaos and controversy. He overpromises and underdelivers. He plays fast and loose. He’s brash and unapologetic. He’s often failed spectacularly when he tried to do big things. He’s never taken personal responsibility.

In the past few days, several of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination have taken I-told-you-so snipes:

  • “I don’t understand why people are that shocked,” Marco Rubio said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “This president ran a very unconventional campaign. … That’s what the American people voted for. And in essence, you know, this White House is not much different from the campaign.”
  • “When I ran for office, I said he is a chaos candidate and would be a chaos president,” Jeb Bush said Friday at a hedge fund conference in Las Vegas. “Unfortunately, so far chaos organizes the presidency.”
  • “The things that have swirled around this White House are the reasons that caused me not to move forward and support him,” John Kasich said during a CNN town hall last Tuesday. “Part of my concern was not just some of what I saw during that campaign, but also there wasn’t a real grasp on the issues … I don’t like people that say, ‘I told you so,’ but … I was the one Republican who would not endorse Donald Trump.”

On the other hand, if you truly took Trump at his word – i.e. face value – his performance thus far has been shocking. He has repeatedly broken campaign promises big and small, and he’s demonstrated hypocrisy by doing many of the exact same things he used to rip Barack Obama for. His strikes on Syria and escalation of the war in Afghanistan suggest that even some of the signature positions he staked out before becoming president were driven more by political convenience than principle. His frequent golf outings, an activity he once said he would give up if he won, are small but routine reminders.

— Trump’s first full budget, which will be formally released tomorrow, is yet another example of him not doing what he promised as a candidate. The president tweeted this exactly two years ago:

He’s also on the record making this promise. Note that he mentions Social Security and Medicaid:

But tomorrow Trump will propose gutting Medicaid by more than $800 billion over the next 10 years, Damian Paletta scooped last night. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off benefits for about 10 million people.

In total, the president’s first full budget will propose $1.7 trillion worth of entitlement cuts over the next decade, “a source with direct knowledge” tells Axios’s Jonathan Swan. In addition to Medicaid, the president plans to put the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) on the chopping block. SSDI, obviously, is part of Social Security.

Trump’s budget would also push millions of Americans off food stamps. “The cuts include a whopping $193 billion from food stamps over the coming decade — more than 25 percent — implemented by cutting back eligibility and imposing additional work requirements,” the Associated Press’s Andrew Taylor reports. “The program presently serves about 42 million people.” Andrew, who obtained talking points being circulated by the White House, adds that the president’s blueprint includes huge cuts to federal employee pensions, welfare benefits and farm subsidies, as well.

Damian’s sources say Trump will call for zeroing out federal funding to Habitat for Humanity, subsidized school lunches and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies.

“A key element of the budget plan will be the assumption that huge tax cuts will result in an unprecedented level of economic growth,”he explains. “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a Senate panel last week that these tax cuts would end up creating trillions of dollars in new revenue, something budget experts from both parties have disputed. The tax cuts would particularly benefit the wealthiest Americans, as Trump has proposing cutting the estate tax, capital gains and business tax rates. The White House will use its presumed new revenue from the tax cuts combined with broad spending cuts to claim that its changes would eliminate the budget deficit over 10 years.”

All of this taken together underscores the stark ideological division inside the administration. OMB director Mick Mulvaney is a tea partier who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus and wants to starve the beast of big government. Trump was a Democrat for most of his life, however, and he’s stocked his senior team with populists and globalists who want to “prime the pump.” That creates an odd dynamic which leads to a budget that simultaneously calls for the federal government to be spending less on discretionary spending 10 years from now than it did in 2001 while also calling for $200 billion in new infrastructure spending and $25 billion to support Ivanka’s European-style liberal family leave proposal.

Many rank-and-file Republicans on Capitol Hill are already dismissing Trump’s budget as unserious and say it is dead even before arrival.

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2017 at 8:48 am

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