Today's Paper Weather Latest Obits Jobs Classifieds Newsletters

The blame game for government spending usually works like this: It's the other party's fault.

The truth is federal spending is a joint effort. The president sends Congress a budget. Congress fiddles with the budget—adding here, subtracting there—shifting as they please. Then they send the budget back to the president, who can sign on the line or veto. If he decides to veto, then Congress must override the veto or go back to the drawing board until a compromise is reached.

So, as the old saying goes, the federal budget is a lot like sausage making—lots of parts go
in during the process. In the end, congress writes the check, but the president must
sign it.

This week President Donald Trump sent his budget proposal to Congress and there have been headlines charging that he's cutting domestic spending for those who need
it most—including Medicaid and "third rail" programs like Medicare and Social Security—
to pay for his wall, increase defense funding and make permanent tax cuts that benefit the wealthy.

There is some truth to that. It's not a fiscally conservative budget. It will add to the deficit and debt. And it doesn't really save anything from cuts to wasteful government spending, it simply shifts the money around. But it's not anything close to the final product.

So whether you like the president's budget
or not, don't get too optimistic or too upset.
We are at the start of a sausage-making process. Worry about what will come out the
other end.