It’s abundantly clear that Donald J. Trump was all talk about making America great again during the 2016 presidential campaign and his first two years as the scandal-ridden chief executive of our government.
Fact is, Trump is crippling America financially and blaming everyone but himself for the problem created by a businessman who is in over his head trying to run the executive branch of our once world-respected government.
The country’s trade deficit, budget deficit and national debt have spiked dramatically under Trump’s mismanagement. His bullying business tactics, refined during a career spent throwing casinos into bankruptcy and running a real estate operation into the ground to the point that it needed funding from foreign banks connected to Russian money-laundering schemes, are delivering few, if any, results.
For Trump supporters who ask for facts, well here you go:
- The U.S. trade deficit hit a 10-year high in 2018, growing by $69 billion, according to figures released March 6 by the Census Bureau. Trump’s constant verbal blasts — and a number of arm-twisting PR stunts — focused on efforts to revive American manufacturing and reduce dependence on imported goods such as steel and other materials failed to produce any meaningful results. His engaging in trade wars with just about any country America does business with has not delivered promised results of more jobs for U.S. workers and a reversal of trade deficit fortunes in America’s favor.
- The budget deficit grew 77 percent in the first four months of fiscal 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, the U.S. Treasury reported earlier this month. The total deficit was $310 billion up from $176 billion over the same four-month period a year earlier. The cause of the massive increase, according to Treasury officials: tax revenues fell dramatically and government spending increased significantly (think about the $750 billion in military spending for fiscal year 2020 — more than a 5 percent increase from the previous year’s allotment). Even worse news is that the budget deficit is projected to exceed $1 trillion in 2020.
- The national debt, which has exceeded $21 trillion, will soar to more than $33 trillion in 2028, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). By then, debt held by the public will almost match the size of the nation’s economy, reaching 96 percent of gross domestic product, a higher level than any point since just after World War II and well past the level that economists say could court a crisis.
What do these figures mean to professionals who study global markets on a daily basis? Many fear rising deficits will drive up interest rates, increase borrowing costs for the private sector, tank stock prices and slow the economy, which would only drive the deficit higher.
“Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences for the budget and the nation,” Keith Hall, the CBO director, told the New York Times recently. “In particular, the likelihood of a fiscal crisis in the United States would increase.”
Trump campaigned on a promise to shrink the country’s trade deficit, arguing loudly during campaign stops before and after taking office that bad trade deals have allowed other countries to take advantage of the United States.
His most popular line that earned him a standing ovation from Republican lawmakers during his State of the Union address earlier this year:
“I blame our [past] leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen.”
Not so fast, Mr. Trump. Promises were made to scuttle all those bad trade deals and replace them with pacts that would re-energize our country’s manufacturing sector — particularly the steel industry — and bring jobs back to America from foreign countries while encouraging American-owned businesses to keep operations in our country.
Very little has happened on any of those items during the past two years.
Yes, Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement, both of which he called some of the “worst” deals, and he’s currently pursuing separate deals with China and the European Union.
It’s important to note, however, that Trump has signed just one new trade deal, with South Korea. The NAFTA replacement, known as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, still needs to be approved by Congress, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns.
Trump remains optimistic about closing a new trade deal with China. As a way of putting pressure on Chinese officials to come to the bargaining table, Trump put tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, as well as on most foreign steel and aluminum, solar panels and washing machines. They were meant to make U.S.-made goods cheaper than foreign competitors’ and incentivize consumers to buy American. That hasn’t happened.
On the budget deficit front, when Republicans seized control of the House of Representatives during the Obama administration, lawmakers and White House officials embarked on a number of strained negotiations to try to reduce the gap between spending and tax revenue. Since Trump took office there have not been any similar discussions.
Instead Trump has largely enacted an agenda of tax cuts and spending increases that has grown the deficit markedly.
Here are budget deficit facts from the U.S. Treasury for you Trump supporters who consider this “fake news” and believe the flimflam con man leading the country down a path to possible financial ruin.
- Tax revenue for October 2018 through January 2019 fell $19 billion, or 2 percent, due in part to a major reduction in corporate tax payments over the first four months of the fiscal year, falling close to 25 percent, or $17 billion.
- As part of the 2017 tax cut law, the tax rate paid by corporations was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent.
- Spending, meanwhile, increased 9 percent over the same period. The biggest increases were for defense military programs, which saw a 12 percent increase, and Medicare, which saw a 16 percent increase.
More disconcerting is that the Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit this year will reach close to $900 billion because the government continues to spend tons more money than it brings in through tax revenues.
Much as he foolishly spent his casinos into bankruptcy and stiffed U.S. lending institutions on numerous real estate transactions, Trump is crippling America financially with his ill-conceived attempts at deficit reduction.
For Trump supporters who bought into their leader’s blustering braggadocio during the campaign and continue to believe his wildly imaginative tweets and verbal blasts attacking everything and everybody who occupied the White House before him, keep in mind that facts and numbers don’t lie.
Only Trump does. And he’s lied nearly 9,000 times in two years as a president in title only.