The new week will get off to a dubious start on Monday when Donald Trump unveils his fiscal 2020 budget proposal, which will reportedly include all manner of shenanigans and buffoonery, including a request for “at least” $8.6 billion in new wall money.
If that sounds delusional to you considering what the president just put America through in pursuit of $5.7 billion in border barrier funding only to fold to Pelosi and reopen the government after securing a fraction of that amount, you’re not alone.
Apparently, Trump’s proposal will seek another $5 billion for DHS and $3.6 billion in military construction funding. On top of that, he wants $3.6 billion more, which will reportedly supplant appropriated funding that he intends to use for the wall.
“The demand is more than six times what Congress allocated for border projects in each of the past two fiscal years, and 6% more than Trump has corralled by invoking emergency powers this year”, Reuters dryly notes, adding that “Trump’s wall request is based off a 2017 plan put forward by Customs and Border Protection officials to build or replace 722 miles of barrier along the border, which in total is estimated to cost about $18 billion.”
This is ridiculously far-fetched and Democrats were keen to emphasize as much over the weekend. Here’s a joint statement from Pelosi and Schumer, out Sunday:
President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico/ Congress refused to fund his wall, and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson.
Yes, Pelosi “hopes” Trump has “learned his lesson”.
But that’s wishful thinking, because Trump isn’t one for “lessons” (or “learning”), which means he’ll feign incredulity when this is summarily laughed off Capitol Hill.
Asked Sunday whether we’ll ultimately see “another budget fight” over the border, Larry Kudlow said this:
Meanwhile, with both chambers rebuking his emergency order, Trump is pigeonholed into using the first veto of his presidency, a move that will only make the optics around his border declaration worse as he stares down multiple lawsuits.
The president’s reinvigorated wall push comes as he readies his 2020 strategy. If the “Finish The Wall” banners hung from the rafters at his El Paso rally last month are any indication, border security will be a big part of the pitch. Following his defeat at the hands of the House, Trump now seems keen on silencing some of this hardline critics like Ann Coulter, whose characteristically abrasive commentary influenced the president’s decision to hunker down on the wall demands late last year. Recently, though, Coulter soured on the president after he caved to Democrats. Not one to gracefully suffer criticism, Trump targeted Coulter during his wild February 15 Rose Garden presser and over the weekend, he called her a “Wacky Nut Job” on the way to insisting that he’s “winning on the Border” and stopping an “invasion”.
In addition to requesting wall money he’s not going to get, Trump will also include in the budget a set of entirely unrealistic economic projections. Specifically, the budget will assume the economy grows at an average 3% annual rate over the next decade (3.2% in 2019, 3.1% in 2020 and 3% in 2021).
Again, that isn’t even close to realistic. Here are two handy charts from Goldman which show you just how far out of whack those figures are with Wall Street’s projections:
The White House’s rosy economic outlook will hit just one business day after the February payrolls report showed the economy added the fewest jobs since September 2017 last month.
But don’t worry, that’s “just a fluke” and “there are a million reasons for that”, right Larry?
That’s from Kudlow’s Friday interview on Bloomberg TV. And look, he may well be right. But it doesn’t matter, because Kudlow, like everyone else in the Trump administration, is now a standing joke, so even when what says has merit (and I guess you can take “merit” literally there), it still comes across as absurd.
In the same Sunday Fox interview cited above, Kudlow insisted that 3% growth is achievable this year and beyond.
Trump’s budget will also propose a 5% cut to non-discretionary spending. Of course he’ll also try and spend more on defense, apparently by way of what amounts to a slush fund, because you know, “strong military” and such.
In any case, this budget is D.O.A. and will accomplish only one thing: Ensuring that the level of animus inside the Beltway remains higher than ever.