By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner;
President Trump’s still-fuzzy proposal to cut $54 billion next year from non-defense spending is ambitious and politically questionable, but it is neither unprecedented nor impossible to achieve.
Budgetary history (of two sorts) shows that savings of such size can, under the right circumstances, be both reasonable and economically productive.
Before delving into the big-picture numbers, let’s allow the disclaimer that not only is the devil in the details but so may be scores of lesser demons. Trump’s details have not been yet released, and may not even have been figured out by the White House itself.
Even for a bloated State Department, for example, Trump’s reported plans for a 37 percent cut in a single year is absurdly unrealistic….
… [continued]….Nonetheless, if the Trump administration is serious, thoughtful, careful and focused, its top-line domestic spending goals are clearly within the realm of reason. Here’s why.
First, consider the history. Nobody would accuse former President “I-feel-your-pain” Clinton of having countenanced little old ladies freezing in the street, so let’s use his final non-election, full-year budget (fiscal year 2000) as a baseline for reasonable levels of domestic spending…. [Even after accounting for inflation and population growth,] Trump’s proposal for at least $462 billion (by some accounting measures, the amount could be as much as $45 billion more) matches Clinton with some change left over….
For the rest of the column, including lots of interesting numbers and some more stuff about demons (and their opposites), please read here.