Newspapers, particularly in these reduced times, don’t have enough pages to cover all the ways that the Trump budget would upend American life by wrecking support not only for programs that serve lower-income people but also for things like education, the arts, broadcasting and science research.
Surprised? Not me. This strangulation of government has long been the goal of a Republican Party that now has control of Congress, the White House and most statehouses. That the pain would be felt most in states that gave Trump his biggest margins (looking at you, Arkansas) was predicted repeatedly during the campaign. Now here we are.
The Trump budget won’t come to pass wholly as proposed because, well, some Republicans think the Trump base might wake up at some point of sufficient pain and understand they’ve been gulled.
The harshest criticism of Mr. Trump’s budget came from Democrats and liberal organizations. But in a city where many federal programs enjoy longstanding bipartisan support, some Republicans also assailed the president’s judgment.
“While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Representative Harold Rogers, Republican of Kentucky and a former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. “We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse.”
I noted some Arkansas members of Congress uttering cautionary words about such pork barreling as Delta Regional Authority money. So far, only Sen. Tom Cotton has uttered cautionary words about the Republican desire to go after much bigger pain and suffering through wreckage of Medicaid. Is it possible that big town hall persuaded Cotton that there is some risk?
The budget talk will be small potatoes if the hard-line Republicans go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the so-called entitlements that most recipients believe they’ve earned or else deserve from a country that likes to hold itself out as an exemplar for human respect.