Painful as we understand it will be, we are all for cutting federal spending.
Not settling for a smaller increase in overall spending, but actually reducing overall spending. In other words, spending less money next year than this year.
In our view, the size of America's national debt - nearly $20 trillion and counting - demands this kind of approach. More deficits and more debt isn't a sustainable strategy; debt eventually will crush this nation.
To these ends, we applaud President Trump for proposing cuts in spending for federal departments in the budget he proposed last week. The perspective of a nonpolitician and longtime private businessman like Trump is, perhaps, something the federal budget process needs.
In our view, it's past time for Washington to recognize fiscal realities and ask hard questions about federal spending, like these: What is absolutely necessary? What can we do without? Who can do with less? Is this a federal or state responsibility?
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One problem we have with Trump's proposed budget is an almost double-digit, $52 billion proposed increase in Pentagon spending. If the goal is to cut overall federal spending, and it should be, all departments of government must be part of the discussion, including the nearly $600 billion Department of Defense. Just slicing slivers from the edge of the federal pie isn't enough.
This approach means programs you like, programs we like and programs important to our state (for example, Trump's budget proposes a 21 percent cut in the Agriculture Department budget) will be impacted, but the federal government can't be - and shouldn't be - everything to everyone.
We aren't neophytes to this process, we appreciate the role of politics and lobbyists in these decisions. Trump's budget won't be embraced by Congress in its entirety, of course.
Still, if the new president's proposal produces serious dialogue about real, substantive reductions in federal spending, ours will be a better country for it.
Really, do we have a choice?