Tackling federal spending

Editors at National Review respond to the spending increases in the latest federal budget deal.

Congress has reached a consensus on spending — spend! — and the Trump administration is broadly inclined to agree: On the heels of a $1.5 trillion tax cut, congressional Republicans joined up with Democrats to drop the Boehner-era statutory spending constraints and jack up spending by some $300 billion over the next ten years. The Trump administration now proposes $200 billion in federal spending as part of what the president hopes will be a $1.5 trillion package.

The president has suggested that this $200 billion in spending will be offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the government, currently unspecified. …

… Perhaps Trump is a shrewder budgeter than he is being given credit for, in which case we have an alternative proposal: Identify those $200 billion in spending cuts, cut that spending, and then do . . . nothing. Pocket the savings.

They are going to be necessary.

While some of our friends in Washington worry about rinky-dink outlays such as foreign aid, the biggest chunks of federal spending remain on autopilot. Not that Congress shouldn’t mind the pennies: If there is spending that is undesirable or ineffective in foreign aid, or in any other category, it should be addressed. But most federal spending is concentrated in a small number of categories: national defense, which Republicans propose to spend more on, and not without good reason; interest on the debt, a non-optional outlay; and entitlements.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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