Back in 2008, Joe Biden gave a speech in which he said "show me your budget and I'll show you what you value." Last night Donald Trump released an outline of his budget -- his “deconstruction of the administrative state,” in the words of his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon -- and it certainly does that.
Trump's apparent values: nihilism and cruelty:
No federal program, however well-intentioned, perfectly and efficiently carries out its stated mission. Any of us could go line-by-line down the federal budget and find fat and waste.
And, to be sure, this is just an outline. The so-called "skinny budget" that presidents release in advance of more substantive proposals down the line. Congress is the branch of government in charge of budgeting and it will, at best, nod at all of this as it does what it intends to do. Some in Congress have already declared this a "dead letter," so the chances that any of these cuts and changes actually come into effect are uncertain at best and highly unlikely in many cases.
But it is not a useless document. It, as Joe Biden said in 2008, tells us what Trump values. And what he does not value.
Even if Trump doesn't get anything he wants in his first budget as president, he has already signaled who he is. Ask yourself if his values are your values.