So Congress has put out their budget deal. It includes gigantic massive cuts to … um, nothing. Spending will go up. And it includes important reforms to … um, nothing. Entitlements will go on as scheduled. But at least it has full funding for … um, Planned Parenthood? And the EPA will get … um, almost all of its funding.
I’m not sure why I expected anything different. Congress is spineless and the only way spending has been cut in the past is through intense showdowns with the President. This President is so eager to reach a deal that he immediately abandoned his “skinny budget”. And whatever political capital the GOP had has been burned on ham-fisted poorly-executed attempts at a travel ban and ACA repeal.
We’re 100 days into the Trump term. I’m unwilling to pronounce him a failure only 1/16th into his term. But something is going to have to change and soon. The vital issue of overhauling Obamacare has now ended in not one but two legislative implosions. The vital issue of tax reform came down to a one-page outline that wouldn’t pass muster in a freshman economics class. The issue of illegal immigration is descending into ham-fisted deportations. Our foreign policy is a mess, with Trump heaving praise at such luminaries as Kim Jong-un and and mass murderer Rodrigo Duterte. You occasionally see glimpses of competence (Gorsuch, Trump’s dealings with China). But we need a lot more.
This is one of the reasons I was NeverTrump: political outsiders sound good but you need someone who is willing to learn the system and use it. Trump is not that man and never has been. If Rubio or Kasich or anyone else had won, we’d be seeing a much more competent agenda advanced.
Still, recriminations get us nowhere. Someone needs to step up and take the helm here. I had hoped that Paul Ryan would be that man but, so far, we haven’t seen much from him other than catering to Trump’s politics of the moment.
I suspect, however that this is how the next four years will play out. Not with disasters — although that possibility always looms — but with four years of rudderless government that gets nothing done. A GOP that is in gridlock with itself. Sometimes, that’s preferable. But I think our economy and our country need more than just benign neglect right now.