It’s no secret that the Heritage Foundation has been in the driver’s seat for Trump’s incoming administration. While it may not have quite the influence it had in the early days of the Reagan administration, when its phone book–sized Mandate For Leadership was Reagan’s playbook, it has been vetting candidates for job openings and supplying potential Supreme Court nominees. On Thursday, The Hill reported that Trump is planning on fulfilling one of Heritage’s longtime goals: defunding the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund thousands of local public radio and television stations. Major unspecified cuts are also proposed for the Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Justice, and State departments.
Republicans have argued that cutting funding for these entities is necessary to reduce the debt, though they have sometimes balked at seeing them through. They claim that axing all three would “reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years,” per The Hill. But reducing the debt is often a euphemism for cutting programs that Republicans don’t like—raising taxes on rich people is a much better and more efficient way to reduce the debt, and it has the added bonus of not destroying programs beloved by rich and non-rich people alike.
But the $10.5 trillion number is especially ridiculous when you consider the fact that these programs do not cost very much money in the grand scheme of federal spending.
This is why Trump’s team is throwing out a huge proposed number of budget cuts: It is a Trojan Horse to cut programs they don’t like—public services, in other words—which they will claim was necessary to reduce the debt.