Since the Trump administration released its fiscal year 2018 “skinny budget” proposal it has become increasingly clear that the Republican establishment in both branches of government are increasingly divided on how U.S. taxpayer money should be spent. Trump advocates for massive cuts to many social programs (but not Social Security or Medicare) and has vowed to make America’s military great again, proposing a $54 billion increase in defense spending above the Budget Control Act caps. Fiscal conservatives within the party are concerned that the defense increase is wasteful and that many of the social programs that will be cut to fund the increase are necessary for their constituents. The opposite end of the Republican spectrum has defense hawks, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who wants to see an even bigger increase in defense spending. Both groups generally favor massive reforms—and often cuts—to entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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