"A great country can't borrow a trillion dollars a year," Stephen Moore warned. Nobody has to tell Donald Trump that. The man who's responsible for the economic boom knows a thing or two about finance. So maybe, when he sends a budget plan to Congress, they should listen.
President Trump was never a politician. What he was is a successful businessman. For years, he turned companies around and made them profitable -- and he could do the same for America, if leaders would give him a chance. There's just one problem: not much of Congress has the stomach for it.
Moore, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, helped formulate a plan with the Trump campaign nearly four years ago. The first part of the strategy, he told "Washington Watch" listeners, was "grow the economy, get people back into jobs, get people off welfare and into work, get companies more profitable so that they hire more workers... [And] when companies make more money, they pay more taxes." All of that, he agreed, has gone very well. "The economy is flying high right now. Maybe the best economy in 30 years. [There are a] record number of people working... Tax revenues to the government are just bursting every record. [But] the problem is that there have been almost no spending controls."
As every president does at the beginning of the year, Trump released his budget draft -- a solid proposal with modest cuts and caps on spending. But usually, the frustration is that the second this gets to Congress, it's dead on arrival. That's a shame, since conservatives desperately want someone with the spine to ax programs we never should be funding in the first place: things like Planned Parenthood, PBS, certain arts endowments, failing education projects, and on and on. But every time members look at cutting something, it ends up in a stalemate with the threat of a government shutdown.
And Democrats aren't the only ones to blame, Moore argues. "I'm frustrated because, frankly, neither party in Congress wants to cut the spending. I mean, I remember... when we had the Tea Party movement and a real rebellion against the out-of-control spending. But I have to say, neither party has much interest in it. They like to play Santa Claus. That's what Congress does... Every program has [a] constituency in Washington and lobbyists who fight for them."
At a time when the government is running trillion-dollar deficits, this president is offering a way to balance the budget in 15 years, experts say. And he's reinforcing pro-life policy in the process. His 2021 blueprint calls for defunding Planned Parenthood, slashing earmarks for UNFPA, stripping Title X "family planning" dollars, and in one explicit portion, calls for federal dollars to uphold conscience rights.
With Trump's approval ratings at an all-time high, there's no reason leaders couldn't take his budget to the floor and tell America, "It's not ours, it's his." Debate it, pass it, and let him sign it. The rest of the country makes difficult decisions with their money every day. It's time for Congress to do the same. "We're [doing] the best we can here in the administration..." acting Budget Director Russell Vought says. But real change "require[s] statutes."