The Trump administration recently rolled out their budget proposal, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again”.
Among the departments which would receive additional funding are Defense (+$52 billion) and Homeland Security (+$2.8 billion). Another $2.6 billion would be placed towards the border wall, which would eventually cost $22 billion. $1.5 billion more would help expand detention and removal of illegal immigrants.
On the losing end are Health and Human Services (-$13 billion, a 16% loss), Education (-$9 billion, a 14% loss), and the Environmental Protection Agency (-$31%).
If you’ve read my article “Major League Spending” then you know I’m all for cutting the fat in government operations. But this budget will do nothing to decrease spending, and will most likely end up increasing the deficit in the future. The money is flowing to the wrong places, and here’s why.
What the Statistics Say
Studies conducted by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, concluded that the chance of an American dying in a terrorist attack committed by a foreigner in the US is about 1 in 3.6 million (over the past 41 years) Reducing the sample to refugees increases the odds to 1 in 3.64 billion. The chance of death by terrorist attack via an illegal immigrant is 1 in 10.9 billion.
The odds of dying by…
Heart Disease and Cancer: 1 in 7
Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease: 1 in 28
Unintentional Poisoning: 1 in 96
Motor Vehicle Crash: 1 in 114
Fall: 1 in 127
Lightning Strike: 1 in 161,856
Compare the statistics above to the statistics about terrorism. Which do you think we should be investing more to prevent?
Terrorism is undoubtedly different than other aforementioned causes because it is a malicious attempt on innocent lives, and I completely understand why it receives great attention. It is an important issue that must be addressed. But the numbers don’t lie, so why would we divest from crucial domestic health initiatives to increase the already astronomical military budget?
Keep in mind that Health and Human Services is responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and the Affordable Care Act (which for many is anything but affordable but problems with health insurance are a topic for another day).
Surely one can question how a terrorist attack is defined, or how many violent crimes not considered terrorism are committed by foreigners, refugees, and illegal immigrants. One of the main platforms of the current administration is combating terrorism, so it too was my main focus in this brief article.
Hopefully Mr. Trump and his administration can make good on their campaign promise to drain the swamp rather than drain important domestic programs. Congress has the ultimate control in budget matters, so we’ll have to wait and see how much of this plan actually gets implemented.