Day One…

(Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael McGrady Director of McGrady Policy Research
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Let that sink in for a moment… President Donald J. Trump.

Today ends nearly a decade of divided government, as Donald Trump experienced a meteoric rise to become the 45th man to hold the position of the American President. With this, Trump’s agenda will be pushed, socio-economic changes will take place nationwide, and the country remains wrongfully divided.

Under the coming regime, Americans will experience a new political order and witness a series of governmental changes and legislation that will attempt to undo repressive market reforms, restore individual rights, and give hope to the citizens that have long been abused by big brother government.

Regardless of my own criticisms of the President, the next four years present an era of opportunity on many policy fronts. To begin, reforms will be made to give more consumer-centric options, the government will be made to be more pro-business, and people can begin to pull themselves out of the Great Recession, worsened by Obama.

After a divisive campaign season, a controversial transition period, and divided intrigue leading up to this moment, the new Administration inherits a big problem: the federal government’s financial troubles.

Upon the peaceful transition of power, Obama is leaving federal office with the countries coffers $9,335,000,000,000 more in debt, according to Treasury data obtained by CNSNews. With such an error as critical, and large as that, the new government has to challenge any remaining hardliners in the executive branch and utilize the Republican-dominated Congress to reign in the spending.

The message that Trump presented, in his Inaugural Address, is ambitious and heralded the American people as the endowed beneficiaries of the government’s affairs. However, what left, at least myself speculating, is how will the government retract and recover from its current size under a president who wishes to back a $1 trillion infrastructure plan and major plans for beefing up national security, border security, and law enforcement. The answer is not as straightforward, as we know.

However, it is not impossible for to shrink with the current budget proposal that Team Trump will be submitting to Congress. Just the other day, The Hill reported on the budget plans for the incoming administration, calling the cuts “dramatic.” Citing a plan to reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over the next decade, or almost a trillion a year, for an annual federal budget of over $3 trillion total, nondiscretionary and discretionary spending included.

Via the coverage from The Hill article, the plan would target the Departments of Energy and Commerce for major reductions in annual operation authorizations. Also, other highlights include that Departments like Justice and State, surprisingly, will see total programs gutted, in addition. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting will also, proposedly, be privatized as programs like the National Endowment for the Arts will be no more.

The plan sounds wonderful and, if Congress accepts such a plan, could reduce discretionary spending by billions. However, the National Review (and myself) noticed that no financial changes to entitlement spending would be touched, like Trump promised on the campaign trail.

The numbers just don’t add up when annual spending on non-discretionary funding (entitlements) is almost $2 trillion and we are supposed to cut funds by a trillion in every annual budget for ten years. This component of the murky debate is brought up because the plan that is being circulated, according to the aforementioned article, emulates budget recommendations set out in the Heritage Foundation’s model fiscal plan. Because of this, it is not that surprising that the administration’s plan “hews” close to the Heritage plan when economic researchers for the foundation were appointed to the Trump transition team.

Regardless, to have the quoted savings per year, it wouldn’t hurt if Trump worked on a multi-beneficial approach to reforming entitlements. Solving that issue can be done by pushing back to the retirement age and conducting other related policy changes.

The Obamacare replacement debate also poses concerns on cost; however, the merits of that debate can be drawn out in its own series of op-eds.

Cutting to the chase, though, we have a new president and just on Day One, republicans and democrats are bracing themselves for the “YUGE” changes. The only words that I wish to give to the new POTUS and Vice is, simply, do not repeat the mistakes of the past few administrations. We cannot afford big government anymore.