As I sit and watch the state funeral service of our 41st president, George H.W. Bush, I’m struck by the legacy he left, the people he touched, friendships made, and policies enacted with the intentions of making the nation and the world a better, freer place.
With that in mind, I’m jackhammered back to the present, and I have to wonder what will be the legacy of President Donald J. Trump?
It may still be too early to tell, especially through the heavy smoke of the ongoing Russia probe, trade wars, alienated allies, and emboldened geopolitical foes.
Considering that, I’m going to go ahead and call it: He’ll be considered the lowest point of the office of the U.S. presidency in modern history, if not all of our nation’s history.
Whatever wounds the Trump name carries into history, we can be certain that they will be wounds of his own making, and most deserved.
He is foul-mouthed, self-absorbed, arrogant, entitled, and grossly ignorant of the world around him – a deficit that only serves to cripple the effectiveness of the leader of the premiere world “superpower.”
Speaking of crippling, few things cripple a nation more than unsustainable debt.
The United States is currently shouldering over $21 trillion in debt, and the legs of the taxpayers are buckling under the weight.
President Trump has been advised since 2016 by the advisers surrounding him that our debt is an issue that requires attention.
In fact, according to sources in the know, he’s more than willing to take the praise for tax cuts and a robust economy now, but when it all comes down, he figures he’ll be free of the crash. That will be on the next administration, so – so what?
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.
“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt.
In other words, he’s in it for the praise, but never intended to work for the good of this nation.
He doesn’t care about the debt. He has never mentioned it, or seemed overly concerned with it, according to those close to him.
I suppose we can write it off to him being really bad at math, but for the lack of a simple class in economics, our union suffers.
Then again, there are others that would suggest that he’s more concerned that he appears, choosing to address the matter in other ways.
Stephen Moore, a conservative economist at the Heritage Foundation and an economic adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign went the route of using the colorful charts to present the issue of debt to then-candidate Trump.
He assured the candidate that economic growth was the answer.
“That was why, when he was confronted with these nightmare scenarios on the debt, I think he rejected them, because if you grow the economy… you don’t have a debt problem,” Moore continued. “I know a few times when people would bring up the enormous debt, he would say, ‘We’re gonna grow our way out of it.’”
One current senior Trump administration official vented that Trump “doesn’t really care” about actually attacking the debt “crisis,” and prefers simply “jobs and growth, whatever that means.”
President Trump likes to tout his tax cuts, but tax cuts only mean less revenue coming in, when you don’t decrease spending, along with it.
Defense and discretionary spending has increased. Entitlement programs remain in place, with no real indicators that anything is going to change, in that area.
Marc Short, who formerly served as legislative affairs director for President Trump, claims the president is involved, and concerned with rising interest rates.
“But there’s no doubt this administration and this Congress need to address spending because we have out-of-control entitlement programs,” Short said, adding, “it’s fair to say that… the president would be skeptical of anyone who claims that they would know exactly when a [debt] crisis really comes home to roost.”
But he doesn’t think it will ever be his problem, or at least, a problem he has to deal with, directly. With that in mind, he just gives lip service.
The Washington Post recently reported that Trump had instructed his Cabinet to devise plans to trim their budgets in an effort to reduce the federal deficit. But Trump also set strict limits on what sorts of programs could be cut—and quickly proceeded to propose increased spending in other areas of the federal government.
“He understands the messaging of it,” the former senior White House official told The Daily Beast. “But he isn’t a doctrinaire conservative who deeply cares about the national debt, especially not on his watch… It’s not actually a top priority for him… He understands the political nature of the debt but it’s clearly not, frankly, something he sees as crucial to his legacy.”
The former Trump official adding, “It’s not like it’s going to haunt him.”
No. He’ll leave that to the rest of us.