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Last week, on February 22, 2017, President Trump spoke to the press for the first time about the budget and the national debt while attending an informal federal budget meeting at the White House. Here are some quick quotes that stood out during his introductory remarks, first off, covering his impression of the overall state of the nation’s finances.
“Unfortunately the budget we’re inheriting, essentially inheriting, is a mess. The finances of our country are a mess, but we’re going to clean them up.”
On the national debt:
“We have enormous work to do as the national debt doubled over the last eight years. Our debt has doubled, over a short period of time.”
And how he intends to address federal spending:
“We’re going to be spending the money in a very, very careful manner. Our moral duty to the taxpayer requires us to make our government leaner and more accountable, we must do a lot more with less, and we must stop the improper payments and the abuses, negotiate better prices and look for every last dollar of savings.”
Toward the end of his remarks, he made the following observation about the federal budget:
“It is absolutely out of control”.
If you want to see his full introductory remarks, the following just-over-four-minutes long YouTube video captures them.
If Donald Trump has a strength from all his years in business, it lies in his experience in having to address every aspect of controlling his businesses’ expenditures to make sure that waste was minimized while generating the real growth needed to make his businesses profitable. He’s had failures and he’s had successes over his long career in the private sector, where the federal budget presents a challenge for him to apply what he’s learned from both kinds of experiences.
How much success he’ll have as President will in no small part be determined by how well that previous experience can be translated and applied to a federal government that seeks to defy restraint where the spending desired by professional politicians and bureaucrats is concerned.
Over the next four years, President Trump will no doubt have both failures and successes in dealing with that challenge, so the real question is how will the U.S. government’s finances net out? The U.S. government is, after all, already on a trajectory where the status quo means it will return to running trillion-dollar-plus annual deficits within just a few years.
We will all start to find out more about President Trump’s plans for the U.S. government’s budget sometime in the next month. So far, the Trump administration has signaled that both Social Security and Medicare won’t be affected by cuts in their upcoming budget proposal for the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year, clearing the field for the fiscally troubled Medicaid program to be the focus of serious budgetary reform efforts in the immediate future.