On the campaign trail in 2016 and again in his 2017 inaugural address, President Trump made pointed reference to “the forgotten man” and promised that he would be forgotten no longer. His message certainly resonated with his intended audience: struggling blue-collar workers in decaying industrial regions, young people woefully equipped for today’s high-tech jobs, and good country folk who missed out on opportunities to earn a good living in today’s global economy helped secure an astonishing upset presidential victory for the wealthy businessman.
We believe, however, that America’s truly forgotten men and women are found elsewhere. They are the unborn taxpayers who will ultimately and inevitably bear the burden of paying for Mr. Trump’s deficit-financed campaign promises and post-election pivots.
To be sure, the federal debt has been on an overall upswing for decades. The last time debt held by the public amounted to less than a quarter of GDP was when Jimmy Carter occupied the Oval Office in 1979. But President Trump has surely done his part to add to the debt problem by cutting taxes without commensurate spending cuts.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which the president signed last December, will add almost $1.8 trillion to the federal debt over the next decade. By 2027, debt held by the public will reach 97.5 percent of GDP, 6.3 percentage points higher than the CBO’s estimate before the 2017 tax reform. On a per capita basis, this amounts to an increase of over $5,000 in the public debt for every man, woman, and child in the country. The $1.3-trillion omnibus spending bill the president signed last month only adds fuel to the fiscal inferno.