Monday, March 13, 2017

Washington Post: Trump budget expected to seek historic contraction of federal workforce

President Donald Trump is expected to release his budget on Thursday. It is, like all White House budget proposals, a wish list. Congress doesn’t always agree with a president’s budget proposal. Nevertheless, the budget will clearly expose Trump’s vision for the size and roll of government.

Trump’s “aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.

Typically, it’s the republican’s perception of the role of government. So, its reception by Congressional Republicans will be even more of a tell tale indication of which direction our country is heading.

The cuts Trump plans to propose this week are also expected to lead to layoffs among federal workers, changes that would be felt sharply in the Washington area. According to an economic analysis by Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, the reductions outlined so far by Trump's advisers would reduce employment in the region by 1.8 percent and personal income by 3.5 percent, and lower home prices by 1.9 percent.

"These are not the kind of cuts that you can accommodate by tightening the belt one notch, by shaving a little bit off of a program, or by downsizing a few staff here or there," said Robert Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. "These are cuts that would require a wholesale triage of a vast array of federal activities."

The Trump budget will be a historic decrease of the federal workforce. "This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude -- and all at once -- since the draw down following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.  

(Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

By Damian Paletta
Washington Post