The GOP has long spoken of its desire to shrink the federal government. Thanks to a party majority, Congress and the Trump administration have rolled up their sleeves, and aren’t wasting time. A report in today’s Washington Post writes that “officials and analysts expect sharp cuts in federal nondefense spending, which would strain local budgets nationwide and pose a particular threat to economic growth here” in the D.C. region.
Also quoted, was Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), saying: “Cuts in federal investments in health research would hurt the country and his state, which is home to the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.”
This doesn’t bode well for Congresswoman Barbara Comstock’s plan for repairing the Affordable Care Act. When asked how our country can afford to repair the ACA while simultaneously making it cheaper (which is her stated plan, however vague), Comstock answered that supporting health sciences and technological advances are critical to reducing health care costs. During her phone call Town Hall she pinpointed diabetes and Alzheimer’s as being the two biggest drains on Medicare, but that they could be cured, possibly in her lifetime, thanks to advances in health care technology. The only problem is that these industries are facing massive cuts from the Trump administration. tele-town-hall-2-8-2017
Spending priorities in Washington are changing. Military and cybersecurity industries will get a funding boost from Trump, while other sectors are expected to shrink. Block grants and the responsibility for stewarding them will be shunted onto the states, and are highly likely to be discretionary. So, which states will prioritize curing diabetes? It is doubtful that any state will have the capability or willingness.
The federal government is the number one largest employer in the nation. The GOP’s plan is to shrink it, which may bump Walmart (currently in second place) up to number one. Note that Walmart salaries are low enough for its employees to qualify for welfare. Imagine them as the country’s number one employer. Add to that list of welfare recipients, a growing host of unemployed federal workers.
Referring to the expected upswing in military and cybersecurity spending, “Getting the economy going again is going to be the single most important thing,” said Rep. Comstock, in the article.
Ms. Comstock’s dream of improving the Affordable Care Act just got a lot more remote. The economy is “going,” alright. Just not in the right direction.