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3/24/17

USA: Trump's obsession with 'all things big' could be dangerous: by Rosemary Westwood

Some questions, you’d think, shouldn’t need to be asked.

For instance, “Is America’s military big enough?”

And yet, the New York Times this week dutifully asked the question, since the president of the United States not only considered it — or perhaps, overheard it on conservative talk radio — and answered yes.

As it is, the U.S.’s $596 billion military budget is greater than the next seven countries combined, more than double China’s and roughly nine times Russia’s. Past presidents have beefed up military spending for actual wars. Donald Trump appears happy to beef up spending for imagined ones, or for posturing, or, perhaps, just to make the military bigger.

Enter his recently released “skinny” budget, which is, you understand, an old Washington term related to a lack of detail, and not, you understand, a reference to its lack of muscle. It’s very robust. Extra tough. Super strong(™).

The New Yorker dubbed it his “Voldemort” budget. Budget director Mick Mulvaney deemed it “compassionate.” And it would, among other things, defund Meals on Wheels, cut support for affordable housing in cities, shrink the Education Department’s budget, throw pretty much every federal arts program out the Air Force One window, and thrust an extra $54 billion towards military spending.

In the same breath, the White House is hoping to “compassionately” relieve 24 million Americans of their health care coverage under its proposed American Health Care Act.

Trump is not, it turns out, simply “doing everything he promised,” because that included making life better for many of his devoted voters, and, at one point, promising a health care plan that would cover every single American.

Instead, with now trademark-inconsistency, he’s coated a dovish American-First rhetoric around the exact opposite: a hyper-militarized vision of the country, complete with walls, and no doubt, if it was en vogue, a giant snaking moat.

Under Trump’s leadership, “Is America’s military big enough?” becomes a rhetorical question of the Tim-the-Toolman-Taylor variety, with the same mindless worship of size.

Trump is nothing if not obsessed with all things big.

He’s lied about the number of floors in Trump buildings, so they appear taller. He exaggerated the size of his electoral win, and then exaggerated his inauguration day crowd. “Big league” is a favourite phrase. His 2008 book was called “Think Big.” The London terror attack was “Big news” and the day before his health care bill faced a vote in the house of congress was a “Big day.”

He even wants to appear, physically, big. Since Trump took office, many have missed not only Barack Obama the man, but also his taste in suits, compared to Trump’s ‘80’s era shoulder pads tailoring reminiscent of a tent.

Perhaps Trump, as man, is so devoid of elegance because he has no concept of proportion (in suits, hairstyles, or otherwise). Slinging around outlandishly vulgar insults, stalking his election opponent Hillary Clinton around the debate stage, responding to critical media coverage by calling it “fake news,” and reportedly suing a San Francisco teenager for creating a website where you can make kittens punch Trump in the face: This is not a man well-acquainted with the concept of degree. And that is very bad news for America.

If Trump gets his way, and there are big cuts to health, education, arts, and programs supporting the elderly, disabled and poor, and a big old boost to military spending, something else is bound to be big: the damage.

Read more: Trump's obsession with 'all things big' could be dangerous: Westwood | Metro News

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