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Hitting the Ground Running

What We Need from President Trump’s Domestic Agenda

December 19, 2016

On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. He will certainly hit the ground running, ready to undo some of the illegal Executive Orders issued by his predecessor. “Hitting the ground running” will also include advancing such legislative initiatives as proceeding with construction of a wall on our southern border and major tax reform.
For the long-term good of America, President Trump’s domestic agenda needs to include key structural changes to how government does business. First and foremost, when considering the $20 trillion debt, the current budget process must change. Rather than review the mess we have because of omnibus spending bills that are presented to presidents, in which multi-million and -billion dollar poison pills are hidden by politicians of both parties, some of which are not discovered by budget experts for months, let us look at what needs to be done.
President Trump should, during his State of the Union speech, announce that he will only sign budgets presented to him on a department basis, meaning that he will only approve the budget of one department at a time. Congress will need to ditch its current Budget Act and adopt new rules for passing spending measures. He should tell Congress that, when considering the State Department budget, for example, he will only approve a budget that includes budgetary matters for State. He will have staff who will review the budget, and if anything- anything- is found in the budget not related to the State Department, the entire budget will be vetoed.
In 1998, the Supreme Court declared that the “line item veto” was unconstitutional; therefore, President Trump cannot simply veto certain parts of a budget, as a businessman would. Instead, he has no choice other than to accept or reject the entire budget. This means that the threat of vetoing the entire budget will either curb the urge of politicians to add irrelevant items into budgets or it will inadvertently encourage politicians to create showdowns.
By chopping down budgets into bite-sized, manageable pieces, the budget process will be more transparent for government officials and for the public. This will also increase the odds that ridiculous, wasteful spending will be spotted and stopped before becoming law.
In order to eventually shutter useless and/or damaging departments such Energy, Education, Labor, and Agriculture, these departments have to be pruned of their waste and the process must begin to return authority back to the States, where the Constitution requires such responsibilities.
This method would also make it easier for President Trump to control spending by allowing him to inform Congress of a specific dollar figure that would serve as a ceiling for a particular department.
One other important reform that needs to be tackled right away is one which a president cannot directly impact, but through the power of his office he can play a major role. The unconstitutional behaviors of all three federal branches need to be stopped, and laws obviously do not stop the lawless, particularly in this age of Rule by Elite. The answer is an Article V Convention of the States, made popular by former Reagan official and current talk radio host Mark Levin. In his brilliant 2013 book, The Liberty Amendments, Levin presents numerous ideas which would limit government. Too many people today fail to realize that limiting the scope of government was the entire purpose of the Constitution as it set up a government of, by, and for the People.
A positive by-product of a Convention of the States would be the incredible attention brought to the cause of limited government. An area where conservatives and Republicans have faltered over the decades is education of the public about our causes. The opportunity for education would be unending and, despite media scare tactics, an opportunity to overcome the destructive forces of modern liberalism would loom large before us.
President Trump could play the important role of educating both the Deplorables who are new to politics and “average citizens” who did not vote for him about why the only way to permanently “drain the swamp” is to reestablish our constitutional foundations deeper than the swamp can reach.
There is much work to be done domestically. Job participation is low; economic growth is pathetic; job creation during the Obama years has been below what is needed to keep up with population growth; the federal government took over one-sixth of the economy through the tyrannical/socialistic system known as “ObamaCare;” and our Dollar is fading as the currency of choice around the world.
These are perilous times; we have come to a proverbial fork in the road. Two areas which President Donald Trump can make his mark for decades to come lay before him. Now he needs to act and we need to encourage him to do so. When he hits the ground running, every step is important.

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Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.

Visit Brian W. Peterson's website at https://www.writtenbybwp.com/