Just a few weeks ago, Trump submitted a budget plan to Congress that was utterly horrendous in terms of what it cut and areas it increased spending. However, many people have largely forgotten the budget plan due to the national focus stolen by the defeat of the GOP healthcare bill. It’s not hard to see how people could have forgotten about the budget, but it won’t be long before attention will need to revert to that issue.
The budget for just the next year would cut spending to many of the main government agencies and programs, including such valuable services as Meals on Wheels and the Environmental Protection Agency. It would take those funds and reallocate them to Homeland Security, Defense, and Veterans Affairs. Apart from the gross need for more funds in the Veterans Affairs office, the rest of the proposed increases are ridiculous. The United States already spends as much on defense as the next seven largest military-nations on Earth. A good portion of that money goes to Homeland Security already.
It’s almost ironic that the military was the entity that exposed the latest lie from Trump’s lips. The strange reallocation of funds away from what should be first priorities in favor of building a wall, increasing the size of America’s armed forces, and increasing general border security is just another in Trump’s blatant nationalism and isolationist tendencies.
The Defense Department news organization called Stars And Stripes analyzed the numbers in the budget for this year’s supplemental military funds, and Trump has asked for a total of about $30 billion. Of that sum, about $5.2 billion was double-counted. That means it appears in the budget twice.
Part of the request for the increase includes $3 billion for aircraft and ship programs, but that sum was already requested in a previous budget that is currently waiting on congressional approval. Another $2 billion in the budget was requested for additional military personnel. A portion of that sum was also meant to give existing military employees raises. The full sum, just over $5 billion, was requested in earlier budgets that have yet to be fully approved.
A member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee by the name of Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois stated explicitly that Congress has already addressed the $5 billion sum that was included in the new budget plan by Trump. There are few plausible reasons why Trump would do such a thing. This situation is certainly an uncommon one. Administrations rarely ask for funds to be added to a bill when the bill already contains money for said provisions. There was a full two-week period where the administration was meant to identify and remove any redundancies, yet they seemed to have missed a glaring sum of money. As much as Trump as his administration have stressed cutting social services in favor of military and security budgets, one might assume his administration would be able to handle simple budgets.
There are really only two possible explanations why the Trump administration would do something like this. The first explanation is that they have no idea what they are doing. While that might seem scary, it is certainly the better option compared to the second explanation, which is that Trump and his administration purposely double-counted the money so it could later be allocated for something else they have in mind but don’t yet want to discuss. Should it be for a nefarious or dubious reason, they wouldn’t want Congress to see what the funds are meant for.
Perhaps the failure of the recent healthcare bill and Trump’s falling poll numbers are a good enough excuse for him to send additional troops to Iraq and Syria, at least in his mind, and maybe he needs the additional $5 billion for crafting a war against one of those nations in an effort to distract from his incompetence.