Toon & Text by John Auchter
The one clear positive from President Trump’s proposed budget: It’s bringing Michiganders closer together. Specifically, in the budget proposal the White House sent to Congress last week, the Trump administration is suggesting to cut the budget of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) from $300 million per year to $10 million per year.
Well, that’s not so much a “cut” as a “gut.” And not so much an art-of-the-deal low-ball opener as a kick in the crotch.
Whatever you call it, the result has been bipartisan condemnation from politicians and voters in Michigan and other Great Lakes states. The focus of the GLRI is to clean up polluted areas, prevent and control invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff that cause algal blooms, and restore habitat to protect native species. In other words, the GLRI helps us take proper care of our most vital environmental and economic resource.
Why then would President Trump want to mess with that? Especially when we are the very same states that tipped the electoral college to his favor? It seems counterintuitive.
Ah, but this is just Trump being Trump. He’s doing what he said he’d do — shaking up the establishment by not being a typical politician. A typical politician would provide at least some quid pro quo for votes. Not Trump, so this is no surprise.
What might be a wake-up call, however, is that this is a good example of another part of Trump’s nature. His 40+ year public record pretty clearly demonstrates that he acts first in his own self interest. Always. It’s fine when your goals align with his. But when they don’t, he wins, you lose.
So if you’re thinking he could maybe cut back on those Mar-a-Lago golf weekends to free up money for the GLRI, you’re going to be disappointed.