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Trump Plots Big Increase in Defense Spending

by AFP

Saul Loeb—AFP

Official claims there will be reduction in foreign aid to make-up for greater allocation for defense.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday teased a budget plan that includes a substantial increase in defense spending and cuts in foreign aid.

Previewing a plan that will attempt to translate campaign promises into dollars and cents, Trump promised a “public safety and national security budget.” An administration official said that Trump’s plan would include a $54 billion increase in defense spending and a corresponding decrease in non-military programs.

“Most federal agencies will see a reduction as a result,” the official said. There will also be a “large reduction in foreign aid,” he added, on condition of anonymity.

The proposal, which will be picked over and must ultimately be approved by Congress, would increase defense spending—already the largest in the world—by almost 10 percent.

Trump claimed that his budget “follows through on my promise on keeping Americans safe. It will include a historic increase in defense spending.”

His comments come a day before he addresses a joint session of Congress, an important agenda setting event for new presidents. The initial outline did not include proposals for mandatory spending or tax proposals, which make up the bulk of outlays and receipts. The budget is a keystone statement of Trump’s priorities for the coming years.

The nearly four trillion dollar annual federal budget is a declaration of intent that puts the president’s policy goals down in black and white. It also separates affordable campaign promises from the fanciful and is the final arbitrator after turf wars between departments and powerful interest groups.

Trump has promised to cut waste and duplication in federal spending.

U.S. president after U.S. president has made similar promises on coming to office, before delving into a text that runs in the thousands of pages and tossing the plan into the thicket of Congress.

Trump has oodles of campaign promises to pay for, but faces a national debt set to hit $20 trillion on his watch and a deficit at 3.1 percent of GDP and rising.

Trump’s promises—from building a wall on the Mexican border to stepping-up the deportation of undocumented immigrants—carry an estimated price tag of $5.3 trillion, according to the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

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