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Remember when candidate Trump promised not only to wall-out all migrants crossing our Mexican border, but also to make Mexico pay for his xenophobic wall?
Well, Mexico hasn’t paid a peso… and won’t. So, he keeps running to Congress, demanding that it pony up unlimited billions of our tax dollars for his pet political project. Aside from one token appropriation, however, Congress has said: “Ummmm… no.”
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But that’s no hill for a narcissistic climber. Unable to get tax money legitimately, Trump has simply stolen it, taking money from the US military budget. Ignoring the constitutional mandate that only Congress is empowered to control the flow of government money, Trump filched $6.1 billion from our military last year, snatched another $3.8 billion this month, and intends to swipe at least another $3.4 billion before the year is out.
This executive “reprogramming,” as the White House euphemistically calls its daylight robbery, is being pulled off by masking Trump’s wall obsession as a “national emergency.” The Pentagon brass has been yanking funds meant for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard… and ultimately from our fighting forces.
Presidential autocracy aside, Trump’s massive larceny raises three other interesting issues of public morality: One, his trickery sets a precedent not only for future presidents, but also for our young people’s behavior; Two, our congress critters, especially Trump Republicans, are setting a new standard of craven meekness in the face of this direct executive assault on their authority and on our democracy; and, Three, by simply kissing off a budget loss of more than $13 billion, saying it’s in excess of the military’s needs, the Pentagon is admitting that the war machine is routinely taking way too much of the public’s money.
“Defying Congress, Trump Plans to Renew Fight for Border Wall Funding,” New York Times, March 10, 2019.