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Government spending and its evil twin, taxation, harm people every day, sometimes mocking taxpayers by claiming to help them, even as they inflict serious economic damage. Reducing spending and taxes, and therefore reducing the harm they cause, is the best way government can actually help people.
President Donald Trump’s recent budget proposal, titled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” demonstrates that the president is interested in returning sanity to how the federal government spends taxpayers’ money.
Balancing the federal budget in 10 years, a stated goal of the plan, is an audacious target, but there’s nothing wrong with setting a lofty goal, even if it might push the bounds of achievability. At the very least, no person concerned about the nation’s ballooning debt crisis will deny that this budget proposal heads in the right direction.
If the budget plan’s predicted “economic feedback effects” are realistic — currently an open question among economists and policy experts — then $2 trillion in new economic growth would be available in a decade, paying off the national deficit, the net difference between incoming revenue and outgoing spending.
The Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan, independent government agency responsible for providing economic and budgetary analyses, projects that the federal deficit will swell by about 150% over the next 10 years, increasing every man, woman and child’s share of the deficit from $1,712 today to about $4,000 in 2027.
Historically, any president’s budget proposal is considered “dead on arrival” when given to lawmakers. Indeed, throughout President Barack Obama’s reign, the president’s proposals were generally ignored or met with near-unanimous rejection.
But the fact that we’re even talking about zeroing-out wealth transfers from taxpayers to government cultural programs, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and paying down the debt is refreshing.
It’s not the proper role of government to subsidize corporations and private individuals, and this budget proposal takes steps to return government to its proper place in society. For instance, the proposal ends federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Currently, NEA receives $146.2 million every year in taxpayer funds, or about 0.001% of all federal spending.
By comparison, Kickstarter, a website connecting artists and art patrons wishing to commission artwork, provides $250 million in “arts funding” — which only goes toward projects people actually want — every year and without government compulsion. This effectively means one website promotes more culture than the entire federal government.
The private sector is eating the government’s lunch when it comes to promoting the humanities, and private individuals can replicate that success in other sectors as well — if the government would just get out of the way and let them try.
Trump and Republicans will surely be demonized for their efforts, but we should encourage this kind of thinking among lawmakers. More fat-trimming and waste-eliminating, please!
Additional government spending leads to the imposition of more government taxes, which means more of people’s money ends up going to the wasteful, bloated government bureaucracy and is taken away from their needs and desires, today and many years down the road.
Getting government out of the way would allow people to have an opportunity to achieve their goals. Lawmakers should work with Trump to do the right thing for taxpayers, by helping to lead the nation down the road to fiscal reform marked out in the president’s budget roadmap.
[Originally Published at Investor’s Business Daily]