Donald Trump’s Biggest Failing: it’s Debt, not Racism

President Donald Trump is accused of many things: lying, willful ignorance, exaggerated feelings of self-importance, mean-spiritedness, childishness, using racially divisive language, white supremacy, etc.  He has such a domineering personality that it is easy to make these charges in a credible manner.

Policy-wise the situation is different.  He is doing some things quite well.  For example:

  • Economic growth has been robust with a currently low unemployment rate of 3.7%.
  • He is cracking down hard on China for unfair trading practices and theft of intellectual property.
  • He has imposed stiff economic sanctions on international bad actors such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

His biggest failing, in my opinion, is ignoring rapidly growing spending deficits which are adding so dramatically to our exploding national debt.  The problem is that:


  • After falling for several years, deficits are now increasing again. The deficit for the current 2019 fiscal year will be close to $1 trillion and growing.
  • Right now interest rates are so low that our debt is almost “free money.” But interest rates will inevitably rise at some point and then interest payments on the debt will explode and make our annual deficits that much worse.
  • When the next recession hits, which could be soon, tax revenues will fall and social spending will increase, making the deficits that much worse.


  • Deficit and debt make a very difficult political problem because fixing it requires cutting spending and/or raising taxes, neither of which is a politically popular option. This means that it will be difficult to solve this problem until a severe fiscal debt crisis occurs which will require unpleasant emergency action.  But it is a President’s responsibility to address our most serious problems.

Summary.  President Trump has many critics who accuse him of various faults and deficiencies.  But his biggest failing, which will have the most negative effect on his legacy, is his unwillingness to address our country’s most severe long term problem: out-of-control deficit spending and rapidly accumulating debt.

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6 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Biggest Failing: it’s Debt, not Racism

  1. With consumer spending still on a binge, the next recession may be 2-3 years off. Then, we should hope to have a Republican Congress to avoid a Federal take-over of our nation’s healthcare. So far, there seems little inclination to think seriously about the declining enrollment in Obamacare. YES, I did say declining enrollment…aka imploding. Hopefully, federalism could take over with a meaningful Federal-State partnership to fund state by state, high-risk pools (as always, we would hope there’s no devil in the Federal details). Remember that 1 out of every 20 citizens account for 50.4% of health spending including the 1 out of every 100 citizens who use 22.8%. Our nation’s health spending for 2018 was $3.73 trillion. Makes me dizzy!

  2. Trump is rash at times, sometimes very presidential, but certainly not a racist of any kind. Yes, his biggest failing , by far, is his unwillingness, for political purposes, to really attack the huge and growing national debt, but Congress isn’t doing much in this regard either. The electorate does not want to face up to the huge debt problem but leadership sometimes means actually persuading people to do what is in their best interests in the longer run.

  3. Nationally ignored, this year’s fiscal deficit will be notable in that 50% of the deficit, @$500 billion, will be attributable to our nation’s excessive health spending. The $500 billion is equivalent in 2005 to fighting 5 Iraqi/Afghanistan Wars, simultaneously. The excess health spending is driven by our nation’s declining level of Social Cohesion, community by community. Here is a contemporary definition of Social Cohesion:

    “A broadly shared expectation among a nation’s citizens that the persons within each citizen’s community are TRUSTWORTHY and that each community’s prevalence of trusting social interactions is related to the community’s level of collaboration occurring with their adjacent communities for enhancing each other’s Survival Commons (aka enhanced safety net) and its enabling Social Capital asset.”

    We have a long way to go to build a resilient strategy for rebuilding our nation’s safety net for reducing the social adversities encountered by too many citizens as a cause of their poor health, such as maternal mortality, child neglect/abuse, childhood obesity, adolescent suicide/homicide, substance abuse/mortality, homelessness, mid-life depression/disability, mass shootings, and declining longevity at birth (now 4 years in a row). We will need to learn again that it requires a collaborative effort family by family, neighborhood by neighborhood, social network by social network, and especially community by community. Remember that nearly 700 US women die annually in association with a pregnancy who would still be alive if they had been living in another nation at the time of conception.

    • I understand what you’re saying about the social consequences of poor health. But how do we get more people to take responsibility for their own health? Making them pay more for healthcare out of their own pockets? I’m afraid that healthcare is just too expensive for this approach to work. We’re simply going to need more stringent external controls on the cost of healthcare itself.

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