Amtrak issued its F.Y. 2016 unaudited financial results last week with a glowing press release claiming a “new ridership record and lowest operating loss ever.” Noting that “ticket sales and other revenues” covered 94 percent of Amtrak’s operating costs, Amtrak media relations called this “a world-class performance for a passenger carrying railroad.” The reality is quite a bit more dismal.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to spend twice as much on infrastructure as whatever Hillary Clinton was proposing, which at the time was $275 billion. Doubling down again in a speech after winning the election, Trump now proposes to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure over the next ten years.
On Friday, the Heritage Foundation held a conference entitled “Budget Process Reforms in the Next Congress.” Paul Winfree organized the event and provided opening remarks.
The incoming Trump administration has indicated that it will make reforms to the federal workforce. Here are a few places where the administration may focus its efforts:
President-elect Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he will balance the federal budget and cut wasteful spending. Here are some of Trump’s views on budget reforms
The United States could reduce Pentagon spending by over a trillion dollars in the next decade—spending $5.2 trillion rather than the currently planned $6.3 trillion— by adopting strategy of military restraint.
In his ObamaCare valedictory last week, President Obama championed the law’s successes: twenty million Americans have free or subsidized insurance; sick people cannot be denied coverage; thrifty policies with spending limits are gone. His timing was impeccable, as three days later the government announced that premiums increased nationwide by an average of 25% as insurers flee the exchanges. Yet, President Obama remains in denial about the root cause of this calamity.
Hillary Clinton says that “we are dramatically underinvesting” in infrastructure and she promises a large increase in federal spending. Donald Trump is promising to spend twice as much as Clinton. Prominent wonks such as Larry Summers are promoting higher spending as well. But more federal spending is the wrong way to go.
An important issue on the plate of the incoming president will be the next farm bill. Current farm programs run through September 2018, and farm bill supporters are already making plans to extend and expand them.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) runs an array of rural subsidy programs, which are aside from the farm subsidy programs that it also runs. USDA’s rural programs are grouped within three agencies: the Rural Housing Service (RHS), the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS). The agencies will spend $6.5 billion in 2016.
These subsidies are the focus of a new essay at DownsizingGovernment.org.
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