I'm pleased with a lot of the elements in President Trump's proposed budget. I agree that defense spending needs to be revamped - not just increased, but spent more appropriately, with due attention paid to maintenance and stockpiling of essential munitions and equipment, and also the elimination of wasteful and unnecessary expenditure. I also agree entirely with zeroing out appropriations for the arts and cultural programs. The constitution contains no mandate for such expenditures. If they're the province of government, they're surely the province of state governments, not federal. I see no reason for any federal tax dollars to be spent on them. The cries of horror and alarm from those seeking to maintain federal spending on the arts and culture are largely political posturing. Let's get real. If an expenditure isn't mandated in the constitution, why is the federal government funding it?
Mr. Trump also needs to address the 73% of federal expenditure (yes, nearly three-quarters of every tax dollar) that's committed to Social Security, Medicare, interest on the national debt, and other mandated entitlement programs and their inflation-linked increases. This is simply unsustainable. It's not a question of whether or not it's a good idea, or whether or not it's right, or whether or not people are entitled to it. It's a question of whether or not it's possible. The answer is simple . . . it isn't possible. We don't have enough money to pay for such levels of expenditure, and as long as we try to do so, our national debt will continue to increase, because that's the only way to pay for them. That's how the Obama administration doubled our national debt - by paying for such programs, and others. If we want to pay down our currently crippling levels of debt, the programs that have necessitated those levels will have to be cut. Pure, plain and simple. There's no avoiding that reality.
Of course, many believe this will be political suicide for the party that does it. However, it's even more certain that if we don't do it, it'll be economic suicide for the nation as a whole. Mathematics isn't partisan, isn't political. It's factual, plain and simple. We cut the deficit that requires us to incur increased national debt, or we go bankrupt. There's no other way. The people may want to vote themselves bread and circuses, but those still have to be paid for . . . and right now, the cupboard is bare. Mr. Trump is quite right to want to cut our outrageous tax burden. The USA is one of the most heavily taxed economies in the world, in order to pay for such expenditure. If we want our economy to be more competitive, and have the money to pay for more jobs and more employment, we have to reduce that burden. Q.E.D. Cut expenditure. We can't do it any other way.
As for faith leaders' reservations:
Insisting it is their moral responsibility, more than 100 American Christian leaders are urging Congress to reject proposed steep budget cuts to foreign aid.
“795 million people still go to bed hungry every night. Matthew 25 tells us when we serve the least of these, we are serving the Lord," the religious leaders said in a new letter to congressional leadership. "We are grateful for America’s global development and diplomacy programs that have been instrumental in saving lives, safeguarding religious liberties, and keeping America safe and secure.”
There's more at the link.
The federal government is not a church. Its leaders are not in the business of saving souls. It exists to administer the United States for the benefit of its citizens. It was not elected, or constitutionally charged with the responsibility, to do that for other nations or peoples. If faith leaders want to serve those other nations and peoples, let them collect funds from their own followers to do so. That's their right, and no-one will dispute it. Those who share their concerns are free to donate to such programs. Those who don't share them, may refrain, or support other programs that are more to their taste. However, to force every US taxpayer to support such causes is without constitutional warrant . . . and breathtakingly arrogant besides.
Get the federal government out of every area of activity where it has no constitutional mandate to be involved. Where it claims such a mandate under a vague justification such as the commerce clause, reinterpret that clause rigorously, according to the manifest intentions of the founding fathers. Where modern practice doesn't square with that intention, shut down every one of those programs. Do that, and we'll balance our national budget and deal with our national deficit without difficulty.