Donald Trump’s “drain the Swamp” promise was good rhetoric, great politics — because nearly everybody knows that the federal government just cannot restrain, constrain, or re-train itself.
So it would have to take an outside force.
Along comes said Outside Force — the current president — yet the Swamp remains.
Unfortunately, too few of the president’s most ardent supporters see the deepest part of the Swamp.
That is, the Department of Defense.
“Less than a week after calling the Pentagon’s $716 billion budget ‘crazy’ and indicating that he wanted to trim it, President Donald Trump is reportedly proposing to push America’s military spending to greater heights,” writes Eric Boehm at Reason. “Trump told Mattis to submit a $750 billion budget request for next year — well in excess of the $733 billion level that had been previously planned.”
And he does this despite the fact that just recently this military establishment failed to give a competent accounting of its spending.
Sadly, poor accounting is rigged into the Department of Defense, as demonstrated in an important exposé last month.
“For decades, the DoD’s leaders and accountants have been perpetrating a gigantic, unconstitutional accounting fraud,” The Nation explains, “deliberately cooking the books to mislead the Congress and drive the DoD’s budgets ever higher, regardless of military necessity.”
Even the imperiled Social Security juggernaut is not run as badly as the Pentagon. We at least know where its funds go and have gone.*
It may be that a real leader — with substantive ideas, reliable information, and a sense of the enormity of governmental carelessness — will inspire Americans and challenge the Deep Swamp, er, State, before catastrophe.
Unfortunately, Trump is looking less and less like that drainer.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* One recipient of Social Security “contributions” has been, in fact, the Pentagon, since budget deficits have been at least partially covered by congressional borrowing from Social Security’s “surpluses.”
Photo credit: Puck, 1909