Donald Trump reportedly wants to cut PBS and its $445 million annual budget, but critics note that there’s a much simpler way to save taxpayers even more money — have Melania move out of New York City and into the White House and stop his almost weekly visits to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.
The White House budget office has released a draft of programs that could be eliminated under President Donald Trump, which includes the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities. As the New York Times reported, the programs make up just a minuscule fraction of the $4 trillion budget.
Cutting PBS alone would save about $445 million a year, Time noted.
Critics said it makes no sense to take aim at programs that have no real impact on the overall budget.
“It’s sad in a way because those programs aren’t causing the deficit,” Steve Bell, a former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee who is now with the Bipartisan Policy Center, told the New York Times.
“These programs don’t amount to a hill of beans.”
The plan to cut PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts and the Humanities is especially controversial given Donald Trump’s rapidly increasing costs so far as president. Despite Trump’s continual criticism of Barack Obama traveling too much, Trump has already spent three weekends at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida — which experts said costs somewhere close to $10 million in increased security.
Trump’s family adds even more to the bill for taxpayers. As The Independent reported, it added more than $1 million in the first month for Secret Service to protect his adult family members as they make international trips for the benefit of Trump’s company — which he has not divested from.
And while it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of guarding Melania Trump at her home in New York City, where she has chosen to live instead of moving into the White House, estimates from CNN Money put it at more than $1 million per day while NBC News pegged the total cost at close to $2 million per day.
A report from The Washington Post noted that the price tag for protecting Trump during his many travels as well as security for his wife and son in New York City and for the business travel of his adult children will end up being hundreds of millions of dollars more than the Obama family. Depending on the estimates, it could reach $500 million or more for Trump’s travels to his resort, his children’s trips for the family business, and his wife’s decision to remain in New York City.
The cost may be more than just money. Insiders say it is also causing burnout among the Secret Service agents who are now strained to protect Trump outside the White House and in settings with logistical difficulties.
“There was an anticipation of how stressful it was going to be on the agency,” Jonathan Wackrow, a 14-year Secret Service employee who served during Obama’s terms, told the Washington Post.
“But the harsh reality is that the stress is just overwhelming.”
It’s still not clear if Donald Trump will end up taking aim at PBS funding. The New York Times noted that the proposed list has not yet been finalized, and the White House is expected to release its detailed budget plan sometime in the next few weeks.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]