During his 2016 run for the White House, Donald Trump as a candidate promised that the country’s national debt would be paid off in eight years if he were elected. The numbers are in—the national debt during his presidency rose almost $7.8 trillion. That adds $23,000 to each American’s share bringing the total to a staggering $222,000 per tax payer.

Helped by the 2017 tax cuts, Donald Trump and his administration’s unrestrained spending, oversaw the third largest deficit spending period in our history. He trails only George W. Bush, who financed two wars, and Abraham Lincoln who had to finance the Civil War.

Even with interest rates at record lows, the government’s net interest cost in the 2020 fiscal year outstripped all spending on education, employment training, research and social services. Massive spending was justified last spring to ward off economic devastation due to the virus but federal finances under the Trump administration had become dire before the pandemic. For four years Trump and Pelosi kept extending the debt limit instead of putting a balanced budget together and living with it.

There is a bright side to this borrow and spend philosophy of Trump and Pelosi. The numbers are in and very positive for one segment of our society, although a small group. Approximately 650 Americans who qualify as billionaires had a very, very good year in 2020. The wealth of these 650 people increased by a trillion dollars thanks in part to the 2017 tax cut. Unfortunately for the middle class the tax breaks afforded us by Trump’s tax bill were not as generous as the moneyed segment of our society received and ours expires this year.
I had hoped that Trump, in his tax bill, would have implemented a flat tax on income so every American would pay the same percentage of tax on their income for the privilege of living in this republic. There are billionaires who pay a lower percentage of income tax than their employees.

The U.K. has proposed an annual 1 percent wealth tax to be levied for five years to help defray the costs of the coronavirus. In Washington the proposal of a wealth tax is a political nonstarter. That would be considered by our congress as inflicting cruel and unnecessary hardship on our financial elite.

—Tom Janicki,