The group that pays for virtually everything Washington does is finally getting some respect — taxpayers.
At press briefings and congressional confirmation hearings during their first week in office, top aides to President Trump have promoted "taxpayers first," a version of the president's own inauguration theme, "America first."
From spokesman Sean Spicer to incoming budget chief Rep. Mick Mulvaney, going to bat for taxpayers has been the focus. At his initial White House briefing, Spicer said Trump was putting taxpayers first in cutting spending and freezing hiring.
"We've got to respect the American taxpayer," Spicer said. "They're sending us a ton of money, they're working real hard, some people working two, three jobs just to get by, and seeing money being wasted in Washington on a job that is duplicitous is insulting to the hard work that they do to pay their taxes."
A day later, at his confirmation hearing to run the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney decried the national debt and gave an example on how it hits every family.
"Our gross national debt has increased to almost $20 trillion. That number is so large as to defy description. I choose to look at it another way: to an ordinary American family, that translates to a credit card bill of $260,000. Families know what that would mean for them. It is time for government to learn the same lesson," he said.
Mulvaney, a budget hawk with big plans to cut spending, added, "American families earn their money honestly; they expect the government to spend it honestly. We owe them that much."
Trump took that focus even further when he talked about his anti-illegal immigration plan. His focus was on the families hurt by illegals, a turn of 180 degrees from former President Barack Obama's focus on the plight of illegal families affected by deportations.
"They don't talk about American families forever separated from the ones they love," he said in a reference to Americans killed by illegal immigrants.
The new administration's focus hasn't been lost taxpayer advocates, including the influential president of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist.
"William Graham Sumner wrote that the taxpayer was, 'The forgotten man.' Trump has begun his presidency making it clear he puts taxpayers front and center. Taxpayers first and Washington last is a true revolution in thinking. Trump came to Washington and called for a freeze in hiring. That is a focus on the needs of taxpayers, not Washington's traditional appetite," Norquist told Secrets.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org