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Horowitz: Former Trump budget director proposes model balanced budget for GOP to run with

Op-ed
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

One of the excuses given for passing an omnibus bill in the lame-duck session is that a new GOP-controlled House won’t have enough time to deal with rewriting the entire fiscal year 2023 budget right when it’s sworn in with so much on its plate. Well, Russ Vought of the Center for Renewing America, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under Trump, released a budget blueprint doing all the work for the legislators. It balances the budget in 10 years by focusing mainly on cutting woke and weaponized bureaucracies rather than popular programs, which makes it very hard for Democrats to demagogue. Now it’s time to stand behind this blueprint and begin messaging its key points headed into next year’s budget fight.

For many years, Republicans wrongly communicated the message that the only way to get our fiscal house in order is to focus mainly on cutting entitlements. Because they never really intended to touch that hot potato, they gave up on cutting spending altogether and actually went along with every Democrat spending increase of every harmful bureaucratic agency funded under the annual appropriations process as “discretionary spending.”

However, although the discretionary spending is smaller than the entitlement spending, it is still significant. Moreover, the cost of those agencies and policies is much greater than their appropriations price tag. They destroy the fabric of our country through woke policies and fascistic power grabs that harm life, liberty, and property. For example, the budget authority for the EPA is about $9 billion, sadly considered a paltry sum relative to our $6 trillion annual budget. However, its true cost is in the hundreds of billions it takes out of our economy in terms of lost energy production, defective and junky products, lost jobs, and massive energy-driven inflation. Ditto for so many of the agencies governing land use, minerals, energy, and manufacturing in the Departments of Interior, Commerce, and Labor.

Can one place a price tag on the CDC and NIH and what they have unleashed upon our civilization? Or the FBI surveilling and arresting political opponents?

“Budgeting is too often an exercise in accounting and austerity, where every program takes a hit, rather than an opportunity to examine what in fact the country is spending money on,” wrote Vought in his introduction. “Nor is budgeting typically aimed at maintaining a political coalition necessary to vote for the plan. It should be. The Left has no interest in ever regaining fiscal rationality. Why should their spending priorities be protected? Particularly when such programs are damaging the very communities supporting the government with their taxes. Why should billions be spent on thousands of interwoven nonprofits, all with a vested interest in furthering multiculturalism through an open border strategy and engaging in lawfare against any effort to control the border?”

A perfect example Vought focuses on in his budget is cutting HUD’s Section 8 program. Overall, his proposal cuts HUD’s budget by 43% because the department’s policies “spread crime and dysfunction into safe neighborhoods as part of ‘affordable housing’ activism hostile towards single-family homes.”

Under each section of the budget, the blueprint targets specific legal policies that should be defunded or terminated. Individually, many of them represent only an infinitesimal portion of the national budget, but their impact on our lives, liberty, property, and character as a nation is priceless – not in a good way.

As for the military, unlike every other GOP budget, which indiscriminately throws money at the military, this budget would roughly maintain the status quo on top-line spending ($8.4 trillion as opposed to $8.9 trillion over 10 years). However, the funding would be focused on the hardware and capabilities needed to deter China, while entire woke and broke programs would be cut. Foreign aid would also be dramatically trimmed.

Yet these cuts, and the ensuing growth and unshackling of the economy they would induce (assuming a reasonable 2.7% average GDP growth rate), would result in $12.3 trillion in lower spending over 10 years. The result would be a balanced budget by 2032 rather than a $2.2 trillion deficit, as projected under the current baseline. And again, this is all done without cutting Medicare or Social Security.

Furthermore, by stripping the bureaucracies of the ability to destroy our economy from within, it would preclude things like COVID fascism from ever happening again. Remember, our government spent $5.5 trillion on COVID, not to mention an almost equal sum from Federal Reserve shenanigans. That is money that was never projected in previous budget plans, but it was unleashed upon us. Controlled demolitions, including energy lockdowns, will undoubtedly occur again unless the bureaucracies are cut, their policies banned, and their circuitous collaboration with “private” companies and NGOs neutered. That is where the battle not just for civilization but for fiscal sanity will be won or lost, not with Social Security and Medicare.

Aside from policy riders that would ban unconstitutional, illogical, or immoral government policies and programs, the budget targets some of the woke and weaponized agencies and programs for across-the-board cuts. Here is a snippet from the budget summary:

  • 7% cut to the DOJ, including a 13% cut to the FBI intelligence and counterintelligence programs (while increasing resources for actual crime fighting by 18%).
  • $22 billion or 20% cut to HHS, including a 37% cut to the CDC to refocus its efforts toward fighting infectious diseases and away from sexually transmitted and chronic diseases, a 50% cut to NIAID (led by Anthony Fauci) because of its commitment to gain-of-function research, and eliminating woke bureaucracy.
  • $26 billion or 43% cut to HUD, including a three-year phase-out of Section 8 grants that are a magnet for crime and decreased property values and cuts to the fair housing bureaucracy committed to breaking up neighborhoods with single-family homes.
  • $26 billion or 45% cut to foreign aid, ensuring that State and USAID are no longer funding drag shows in Ecuador, the training of LGBT activists in Senegal, or gay pride parades in Prague.
  • $18 billion or 26% cut to the Department of Education’s bureaucracy funding CRT and ensuring that states avoid this bureaucracy with a large block grant.

Obviously, once we restore our civilization, we will be in a stronger position to deal with Social Security down the road. As for Medicare and Medicaid, we must first rebuild a parallel health care system built upon freedom, science, direct primary care, and decentralization, in order to transition people into something much better than these ailing socialist programs.

House Republicans must make it clear that the budget deadline should expire early next year and that something akin to this blueprint will be their messaging and red line. They should pass a budget along these lines and refuse to move off it. They should make it clear today that they have zero plans to pass a Democrat budget and will expose the harms of funding a woke and weaponized government every day through briefings, press conferences, and hearings, including through a government shutdown if necessary. Doing this will take Social Security and Medicare off the table as a distraction through which Democrats can obfuscate their harmful and unpopular policies.

Right now, we are drowning in tyranny and literally life-threatening biomedical security policies. We must focus on the life raft. Now we just need a speaker willing to take up the mantle.
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