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Daily Reads: Heritage Foundation Proposals Placed Straight Into Trump’s Budget; Tillerson Hints at War With North Korea

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Heritage Foundation Proposals Cut and Pasted Into Trump's Budget

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney takes questions about President Donald Trump's federal budget blueprint. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Outsourcing –> Parts of Donald Trump’s drastic budget proposal — including the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — were lifted straight from proposals from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, a group funded by corporations and wealthy donors to push extreme deregulation, tax cuts and climate denial in Washington. “Many of the White House proposal’s ideas are identical to a budget blueprint Heritage drew up last year,” Zaid Jilani writes for The Intercept.

In response to Trump’s budget proposal, the Heritage Foundation had only one complaint: It doesn’t spend enough on defense.

Swing of the sledgehammer –> Bloomberg Politics has some nice graphics showing 80 programs that Trump’s budget would eliminate.

At New York Magazine, Eric Levitz writes that White House budget director Mick Mulvaney continued to push the budget yesterday by arguing that cutting programs like Meals on Wheels is “one of the most compassionate things we can do.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would change dramatically, and possibly collapse, if Trump’s proposal to defund the system passes Congress. It would hit the network particularly hard in less populated, rural areas. “More than 70 percent of CPB’s appropriation is distributed” in these smaller markets, Joseph Lichterman writes for Harvard’s Nieman Lab. “These stations are heavily dependent on federal funding because they can’t generate enough revenue through pledge drives or other means to keep them going.”

And at Climate Central, John Upton writes that Trump’s enormous cuts to the EPA and other regulatory agencies will likely result in an increase in crimes by polluting industries. “Individual polluters are going to be able to get away with violating the law much more easily,” environmental law professor Ann Carlson tells him.

Later today, we’ll present a roundup of the best analysis of Trump’s budget as a separate post.

“The policy of strategic patience has ended” –> With North Korea increasingly flaunting its nuclear capabilities, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during a visit to South Korea, that “all options are on the table” — including US military intervention.

DNC angst –> Progressives are dismayed that newly elected DNC chair Tom Perez has stocked his transition team with party insiders. “The initial names on the DNC Transition Advisory Committee include zero leaders of progressive grass-roots groups that engage in electoral work and very few movement progressives,” Kait Sweeney of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee told The Huffington Post.

Hard to pick a side –> Donald Trump wants to start a trade war. But, William Greider writes at The Nation, Democrats are having a hard time coming up with a party consensus on trade. “The ideological upheaval in the Republican Party has created a parallel dilemma for the Democrats. Which side are they on? The answer is not so obvious. Trump has revealed a shift of loyalties that has been under way for years. Party professionals with their computer wizards evidently didn’t know or care.”

Fossil fuels do not mean economic growth –> For the third straight year, the world’s climate change-causing CO2 emissions stayed flat, while the global economy continued to grow, the International Energy Agency reports in its annual assessment, out today. It also finds that the world is not on track to limit climate change to 2 degrees Celsius of warming, the goal laid out by the Paris agreement.

Breaking with the president –> 17 Republican members of Congress are urging the House to “address the causes and effects” of climate change. “The resolution is evidence that at least some congressional Republicans are willing to label climate change a threat despite the fact that President Trump once called global warming ‘a hoax,'” Clare Foran writes for The Atlantic.

Senators begin to bail –> The White House and Paul Ryan seem to have a plan for the Republican health care bill: Vote it out of the House, into the Senate, and then let negotiations begin. Laying the groundwork for that fight, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who on some confirmation votes voted with Democrats, told the Portland Press Herald that she would not be supporting the bill in its current form.

Economists keep getting it wrong –> So says Dean Baker, himself a respected economist and the head of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in an article for The Baffler. Even as America’s problem with economic inequality has increased, and populist rage has, for many, morphed into something more toxic, many in his profession have avoided either changing their ideas or making them transparent to the public, Baker writes. He suggests another way.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley.



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