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In a wide-ranging and convoluted blog, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan addresses the frugal Trump budget proposal.

“Is cutting the absolute No. 1 priority right now?” Noonan asks.

The answer: Absolutely.

Before the lolling, 650-pound federal government can wrestle with the tax code, or with infrastructure restoration, or with rebuilding the U.S. armed forces, or with education reform, the bureaucracy needs to slim down to a modest 250-pound fighting weight.

That’s where the cutting comes in.

What’s being cut? The fat that stores and even grows waste – based on the bureaucratic theory that if you don’t spend what you’re allocated, you have no basis to ask for more next fiscal year.

What’s being cut? The fat that hides duplication. Why have two administrative assistants when a time-motion study shows that you can make do with one? Why have a federal agency in charge of what the states can do effectively by themselves? Why have a bloated federal agency doing nothing but paper-shuffling when it could be eliminated, with that agency’s operating budget going to more critical needs?

What’s being cut? The fat that gooses the overreach of the nanny state and succeeds far too well in covering up widespread fraud in the system. It’s the old “too” story. Too few are being taxed too much to support too many who count on welfare for their food and housing – and, in too many cases, their illegal drugs, booze and cigarettes. To salve these welfare cuts, the sitting president is creating an atmosphere to foster the creation of paying jobs that hopefully will rekindle the spirit of those who have stopped looking for honest work.

The time for prudence and patience is over. It’s time to address these drastic times with drastic measures. It’s time to cut budgets, to bring the bureaucrats to their senses, to get back to the basics without all the bloat.

And then, when we have re-learned the meaning of sacrifice and hunger, perhaps we can return to an atmosphere of prudence and patience. That’s when it’ll be time to take a zero-based budget and build a new tent that will serve everybody fairly.

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