Thursday, September 08, 2016

So Just How Will Trump Pay for His Big Military Buildup?

I would hope this is obvious to most people, but I've lived long enough to know that is not so.

By Rob Garver
September 7, 2016


In remarks in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Trump pledged, “As soon as I take office I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. It is so depleted. We will rebuild our military.”


“I will ask that savings be accomplished through common sense reforms that eliminate government waste and budget gimmicks and that protect, absolutely protect hard-earned benefits for Americans.”

“Common sense” of course, is in the eye of the beholder, and if anything has become clear in recent years, it’s that a president can’t wave a magic wand and suddenly get members of Congress to work together in harmony.


Trump did hit on two legitimate sources of funding, identifying the billions of dollars in improper payments that the federal government doles out every year and the hundreds of billions in uncollected taxes that the Treasury never receives.


However, he ignores the fact that Congress has known about the improper payments problem for years -- the issue is spread across dozens of federal agencies -- and has done little or nothing to address it. There is no obvious reason why lawmakers would spring into action just because President Trump told them to.

Also, the idea that a Congress that has spent the past decade beating down the Internal Revenue Service with budget cuts and investigations -- and which is currently considering impeachment of its commissioner -- would provide that agency with new authority to investigate non-payment of taxes and to go after the lost revenue doesn’t pass the laugh test.


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