Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, March 17th, 2017.

Put the Trumps on a Budget

Trump Maladministration

More compassionate conservatism:

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters at a press conference Thursday that Meals on Wheels “sounds great.” But he said that along with other anti-poverty programs, it is “not showing any results.”

“We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good,” Mulvaney told reporters. “We’re not going to spend money on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.”

Trump’s budget would strip $3 billion from the Community Development Block Grant program, which supports a variety of community-development and anti-poverty programs. Those include Meals on Wheels, which provided 219 million meals to 2.4 million seniors in 2016.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta asked Mulvaney if the funding cuts were “hard-hearted.” Mulvaney responded that reducing government spending on ineffective programs is “probably one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

There’s a post being shared all over social media saying that it’s costing taxpayers $183 million/year to provide security for Melania Trump and little Barron so they can live in New York City. I checked; according to Snopes, it’s probably closer to $50 million/year. Still, $50 million is a lot of money.

Trump’s weekend visits to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers $3 million a pop, Politico says. Since the inauguration, that’s been five weekends. For argument’s sake let’s say he will make 40 trips to Mar-a-Lago this year. That’s $120 million.

McClatchy reported that in eight years of the Obama Administration, the nation paid a total of $85 million for presidential family vacations.

And the adult Trump children are getting security, too. For example,

When the president-elect’s son Eric Trump jetted to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip, U.S. taxpayers were left footing a bill of nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff.

It wasn’t a vacation, but it wasn’t government business, either. And I still want to know how embassy staff got mixed up in Eric’s business trip.

But I say that if we’re going to be so compassionate as to stop providing meals to elderly shut-ins, we ought to do the Trumps a favor and put them on a budget for vacation travel and non-White House residence expenses.  And we’ll be at least as generous to Trump as the nation was to Obama. So $85 million divided by eight is $10,625,000 a year for Trump to vacation and Melania to live anywhere she wants. Since the Obamas sometimes took other vacations (such as the famous “date night,” I’d be willing to round that up to $11 million to make it even.

Back to Mr. Mulvaney,

“You’re only focusing on half of the equation, right? You’re only focusing on recipients of the money,” Mulvaney said. “We’re trying to focus on both the recipients of the money and the folks who give us the money in the first place. I think it’s fairly compassionate to go to them and say, ‘Look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore.'”

I appreciate what you say, Mr. Mulvaney, and I want you to know that I resent the hell out of being asked to pay taxes so that the president can pop down to his Florida resort every weekend. The closest thing I’ve had to a vacation for the past several years was the family reunion in Moline, Illinois last summer.

Of course, I don’t have the stresses that a president has. But if the POTUS were to agree to spend his weekends at Camp David — which I understand is perfectly nice — instead of Mar-a-Lago I’d be happy to give him some de-stressing meditation tips. It’s got a golf tees/greens area and a swimming pool. They’ve got marines guarding the place all the time, anyway, so it’s not that much of an additional expense.

Trump could still go to Mar-a-Lago whenever he wanted, but once his annual budget is used up he would have to pay the expenses out of his own pocket. Likewise Melania and Barron might have to move into the White House. But, y’know, there are people who have it worse.

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