Donald Trump's budget: '2+2 = 7'

02 TRUMP Budget 2018
02 TRUMP Budget 2018

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(CNN)President Donald Trump is in the middle of his 9-day foreign trip. But the big news here in Washington on Tuesday was the release of his budget blueprint -- the administration's wish list heading into the next fiscal year. It landed with a thud -- as Republicans largely avoided even talking about it and Democrats threw it in the trash. Literally. For some perspective on what's in the budget, what's not and whether it all matters, I reached out to the man who knows more about the budget than anyone: Qorvis MSL's Stan Collender. (Doubt me? Stan's Twitter handle is @thebudgetguy. I rest my case.) Our conversation, conducted via email and lightly edited for flow, is below.

Cillizza: How seriously should we take Trump's budget? As in, is anything close to this likely to be the outline of how the government is funded?
Collender: This is not serious at all; it's just a Trump campaign document pretending to be a president's budget. Submitting a budget that is likely ... or even possibly ... going to be adopted and implemented by Congress apparently wasn't the administration's primary goal. Communicating to the ultra-hard right wing of the Republican Party -- the Trump base -- seems to be its only real purpose.
Every president's budget to some extent is part political statement. But the just-released Trump budget takes this to a new and previously unprecedented level with ideology completely overwhelming governing.
    The best way to think of it is as a Trump campaign rally on paper.
    Cillizza: The early readout is that the budget is a win for the wealthy and a loss for the poor. Oversimplification? Why or why not?
    Collender: Not an oversimplification at all. Big tax cuts for the wealthy combined with deep spending cuts for the poor and the middle class are the perfect way to describe this budget.
    OMB Director Mick Mulvaney used different terms, of course, when talking about his opus, but there is no doubt what he was saying. If he and President Trump get their way, taxpayers (i.e. the wealthy and relatively wealthy) are no longer going to pay for things for non-taxpayers (i.e. the poor and working poor).
    It's the Trump equivalent of "Let them eat cake."
    Cillizza: How will this budget land among House Republicans?
    Collender: Dead on arrival, dead before printing, dead before typesetting, etc. (Does anyone set type anymore?)
    By the end of this week, Mulvaney will be the only Republican talking about this budget favorably. Other than the members of the House Freedom Caucus, House and Senate GOP'ers will either be criticizing or ignoring what Trump proposed.
    I'm not sure everything Trump proposed will be acceptable to the Freedom Caucus either.
    Cillizza: Name the best things for Republicans to sell to the public? Are there things in the budget that Democrats will -- or should -- like?
    Collender: Republicans will cling to the proposed increase in the Pentagon budget like a scared child walking with him mother or father in a crowded shopping mall. They'll also applaud the budget showing a surplus at the end of 10 years even if that estimate is based on political and economic science fiction.
    Democrats will like that they now have a handful of new issues with which to attack Trump and congressional Republicans in 2018.
    Cillizza: Finish this sentence: "The single word that best describes Trump's budget is ____." Now, explain.
    Collender: "Twilight Zone" (Yes, I know that's really two words). The Trump 2018 budget is based on such unreal scenarios of how the US economy will perform and what Congress will accept that the White House must be in an alternative universe where up is down, black is white and 2+2=7.