Just winging it:
The Trump administration is seriously thinking about not submitting a budget to Congress next year .
Although the Congressional Budget Act requires the president to submit the fiscal 2018 budget to Congress between January 2 and February 6, Trump could easily say that it was the responsibility of the outgoing Obama administration to comply with the law before the new president was sworn in on January 20.
But while the new president not sending a budget to Congress might not be illegal, it would clearly be unprecedented.***
First, it would allow Trump to avoid the complaints that always come from those the budget proposals would harm by denying them a platform to criticize the White House. No proposals on paper would mean nothing to disparage.
Second, it would allow the White House to avoid having to say how much its taxing and spending proposals will increase the federal deficit and national debt.
Given that many estimates put the likely annual deficit from the Trump campaign plans at $1 trillion or more and that the total increase in the national debt before the 2020 election could easily equal the borrowing during the first 4 years of the Obama administration, the likelihood that this is a major consideration should not be downplayed. Just think of the value of not having to publish a table that for the first time shows those very high numbers, and not having to answer to the House Freedom Caucus.
Third, it would also eliminate the need for the administration to publish a table with the very optimistic GDP growth promised during the campaign, the high interest rates many economists think are coming and Trump’s unrealistic assumptions on jobs and unemployment.
Fourth, it would eliminate the need for the House and Senate to hold hearings on the Trump budget. That would expedite Congress’ consideration of its 2018 budget resolution and the reconciliation process that is widely expected to be used to accelerate the passage of many of Trump’s and the House and Senate GOP’s priorities.
Fifth, although there have been a few rumors about possible directors of the Office of Management and Budget, almost a month after Election Day no one has yet been named. That almost certainly will delay the development of the Trump 2018 budget until almost the summer and the GOP congressional leadership might not want to wait that long to begin its work on the all-important 2018 budget resolution and reconciliation.
Finally, because the White House and Congress will be preoccupied until around the end of March with a budget resolution, reconciliation bill and appropriations for 2017 and a new debt ceiling increase, Trump may not have time for the 2018 budget that would have to be developed at that same time. Given that schedule, plus the fact that it will take some time to get the Trump cabinet and subcabinet confirmed, the White House may think that not submitting a 2018 budget and just working with Congress will be its best chance to be successful.
Of course, the lack of transparency and accountability are very desirable and will facilitate the great looting that is about to take place, but I suspect there is another reason why they won’t submit a budget.
They don’t have anyone or any staff that know how to do it. They never thought they would win. They never thought about these things. And Trump Republicans aren’t numbers people. Their reactionary radicals who think a facebook meme is a thinkpiece. They don’t know how government works, they don’t understand budgets, budgeting, and the legislative process. They just want to destroy things they think liberals like, shit on Democrats and the “elites” and the people who don’t look like them, and generally blow shit up.
What we are going to see is an administration completely disengaged from actual governance, while within the Republican House and Senate individual fiefdoms will handle the money grab. In chaos, the criminals find opportunity (see Richard’s post below). In 20 years if we are still around, we may begin to get a full accounting of how Trump drove the country into financial ruin and how we ended up with the top 1% owning 99.99% of everything while we have two trillion annual deficits but are still all starving.
But that’s if the media hasn’t been banned by then.