Trump administration priorities are misplaced

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Late last month, Chief White House Strategist Steven K. Bannon said the Trump administration is in an “unending battle for deconstruction of the administrative state.” And, boy, he wasn’t kidding. This bellicose declaration was couched in language that talked about the “ordinary American,” so it sounded palatable. Some of the ideas and proposals in this “Bannon Manifesto,” if you will, of dismantling federal agencies should be of concern to many Americans, ordinary or otherwise.

The Trump Administration’s priorities are seriously out of whack. The proposed budget cuts and deregulation frenzy his administration has planned fly in the face of good sense.

According to the (failing) New York Times, the amount of anti-regulatory and rule-eliminating activity seen in Trump’s first months in office has been described as “unprecedented” by experts who study federal regulatory policy. Some of these rollbacks include (but are not limited to) rules aimed at protecting drinking water from pollution, having automakers increase mileage standards, preventing pharmaceutical companies from marketing prescription drugs for unapproved uses and eliminating net neutrality, a regulation put in place to ensure equal access to content on the internet. It’s a deregulatory fire sale! Everything must go!

Further “deconstruction” efforts include proposed cuts to scary programs and federal agencies, such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Office of Violence Against Women (to name but a few). The grand total that every American has to pay to keep those programs afloat is $3.37 per year. The total amount of those programs up for slashing-and-burning constitutes 0.02 percent of federal spending. In the grand scheme of things, that doesn’t seem like a lot.

Trump and friends are also considering “deep cuts” in a number of agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Coast Guard and NOAA cuts would especially have a detrimental impact on the Great Lakes in terms of environmental protection, severe weather prediction, beach and boater safety and maritime security and rescue capabilities, among many other things. While a number of these cuts are drawing criticism even from Republicans, it’s doubtful Trump would listen to any of it considering how well he does with criticism in general.

Cutting funds for programs and agencies that provide a public service for citizens seems like a bad trade-off. And gutting arts programs and sources of real journalism (like NPR and PBS) is a way to stick it to “fake news” and liberal elites, not to save money. All of these cuts are to offset Trump’s ultimate, inane master plan to build this fabled wall to keep out those pesky “bad hombres.” Since Mexico isn’t paying for the wall (even Senator Mitch McConnell recently came out of his tortoise shell and admitted this), other important things have to bear the burden at everyone else’s detriment. The impracticality and stupidity of the wall idea can’t be overstated.

Even supporters who like the wall idea would have to balk at the thought of having to pay for it, especially considering that Trump’s trips to the “Winter White House” have already cost taxpayers $10 million in “security and travel costs.” The estimated price tag of the wall currently sits at over $20 billion. If Trump wants to pay for his moronic wall, how about not racking up a massive travel bill at the expense of the ordinary people he spent months pretending to care about? That might be a good place to start.

In my non-expert, layman’s opinion, it doesn’t seem like there’s been a thorough cost-benefit analysis done here by Trump and company. If money is to be spent on government projects, how about improving the woeful state of the nation’s infrastructure instead of the wall? A recent report given by the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the quality of U.S. infrastructure a D+ grade.

As a concerned citizen and somebody who drives on roads and over bridges and occasionally flies in airplanes, I’m all for improving that infrastructure grade, and I’m willing to bet I’m not alone.