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Pure fiction: Investigative journalist destroys Trump’s new ‘happy go magic land’ budget

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David Cay Johnston
David Cay Johnston

If you love more federal debt, endless wars using antiquated technology, and enjoy breathing dirty air then boy oh boy has Donald Trump got a budget for you.

His new plan to spend $4.8 trillion in the 2021 budget year, which begins Oct. 1, continues his massive military spending with severe cuts to almost everything else, especially the Environmental Protection Agency.

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His spending plan also anticipates a surge of economic growth, something Trump promised voters, but has failed to achieve.

Instead, the Trump era has brought slowly declining economic growth, as we have had the last three years. Notice in the White House graphic below that the red line, actual performance, shrinks each year.

 

That growth has been very uneven. Those who have done best are the rich, lavished with tax cuts and reductions in regulations, and the working poor in the states and towns where the minimum wage has been increased.

Trump’s budget predicts what would be an explosion of economic growth to 3% annually. That would be slightly below the 3.2% average during his lifetime so nothing to brag about if he does get lucky.

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It would also be just half his 6% promise. My children, now grown, called such fantasies “happy go magic land.”

Based on this claim of much faster economic growth, Trump’s budget tables show the budget deficit shrinking by more than half, from 4.6% of the economy last year to 2% in the 2024 budget year. Pure happy go magic land.

And what of Trump’s 2016 campaign promise to retire the federal debt in 8 years? Laughable happy go magic land.

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In the world of reality finance, you should expect yearly red ink deficits in 13 digits – that’s a trillion dollars. Your share? More than $3,000 per year plus interest until you die.

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Should you be feeling nostalgic for the mythical 1950s white picket fences perceptively dissected in the trailer for Pleasantville, Trump’s new budget will point you in that sentimental direction. More happy go magic land.

Did Trump once attend school in the mythical Pleasantville where the books had blank pages?

That mythical town required that schools “teach the non-changist view of history–emphasizing continuity over alteration.”

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After all, Trump contends that some things never change and certainly not for the better, as he tweeted on New Year’s Eve 2018 about his Mexican border wall and wheels:

 

Trump is, of course, wrong, as even idiots should be able to tell from the images of wheels that one Twitter commenter posted in reply to that 2018 Tweet:

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Among the big takeaways from Trump’s new budget, which House Democrats will never approve but that still tells us about what Team Trump wants going forward:

  • Military, not diplomacy, will be the centerpiece of geopolitical affairs. Trump has left 25 ambassadorships vacant more than three years into his presidency. Another nine are pending, meaning no one is on place now. That means no ambassador in 34 out of 189 ambassadorial posts. And it’s not like these are insignificant posts. Among the countries without American ambassadors: Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar—home to our Middle East military headquarters—and Ukraine.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency budget would be slashed 26%. That’s great news for companies who will not have to clean up their toxic wastes and won’t have to worry about getting caught or prosecuted if they do, not so much for today’s fetuses, infants and young people, more of whom will contract asthma, cancer and heart disease. But, heck, those future victims can’t vote, or even know what harms will be forced on them, so Team Trump says let’s party now and not worry about needless suffering and death years from now.
  • That border wall that Trump and his followers chanted Mexico would pay for? Trump’s budget proposes spending a lot more on it, all of it paid for by you dear taxpayer.

Who could ask for more?

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