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A new commentary every Wednesday - May 31, 2017


   I can't think of anything that the Executive and Legislative branches of our government does that impacts our lives more than the budget, yet nothing concerns us less...until our ox is gored. That simile belongs to a bygone era. How about "Until we write our check to the Internal Revenue Service?"

    Before launching the President's first grand tour, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revealed a $4.1-trillion Trump-era budget with a grandiose name: "A New  Foundation for American Greatness (ANFAG).

     ANFAG calls for a 10-percent increase in military spending and a $2.6-billion-dollar bill for border security. In its goal to reduce spending by $4.3-billion over 10 years, the CBO warns that painful choices must be made. The Environmental Protection Agency will take a big hit—31% less money in 2018. Spending at the State Department will be cut by 29% per annum with additional cuts of 2% coming each year thereafter.

    Both Agriculture and Labor Departments are due a 21% reduction in funding; Health & Human Services, down 18%;  Commerce, cut 16%; Education 14% less, with Housing & Urban Development and Department of Transportation each taking a 13% reduction and the Department of Interior, a 12% reduction.

    The Departments of Energy, Small Business, Treasury, Justice and NASA will suffer small cuts and only Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security are budgeted for increases of six and seven percent, respectively.

    May I suggest that a new medal be struck and awarded the members of the creative team that conceived the ANFAG title above, and for them to have it hung around their necks by the President in a White House ceremony. In a gambit dedicated to humor, we suggest, with a slight wince, that the gathering stand and join in singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," as a closing number. The budget, if adopted, can do what the CBO intends, only if all wishes come true, as they did for Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." 

    Please keep in mind what baseball great Yogi Berra said: "It ain't over till its over." The Senate is yet to weigh-in and there's still ample time for the lame, the halt, and medically challenged to chime in over the mastodon in the room... Healthcare.


  -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


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