Ronald Reagan’s implementation of supply-side economics in the 1980s began a cascade of money away from public enterprise and into private wealth. That shift has done more than drive a huge increase in income inequality; it’s also impoverished the nation to make a handful of people more wealthy than anyone has been in history. And in just three years in office, Donald Trump has made the situation much, much worse.
As The New York Times reports, the tax cuts that Trump championed and signed were “a once-in-a-generation boon” to the fortunes of the wealthiest Americans, and the bill itself was not the end of the matter. Thanks to the way agencies have recrafted regulations, along with executive orders from Trump, the effects of the bill have been magnified. Instead of a once-in-a-generation shift of wealth from the public to the wealthy, Trump has created a once-in-history gutting of the many to benefit a very, very few.
The tax law itself, though often described as a “simplification,” is actually very complex, with a series of overlapping and interconnected policies. The Trump White House has crafted these policies with an eye always toward advantaging corporations and the wealthy. Those changes have greatly increased the impact of the bill, both in how it rewards the wealthy and in how it damages the public good.
The result is a budget deficit that has jumped over 50% since Trump took office—a deficit that will top $1 trillion in 2020.
Don’t expect Republicans—even those who came to town riding tea party complaints about supposed overspending by President Barack Obama—to make any attempt to clamp down on that deficit. Not in 2020. Facing the prospect of an election, Republicans can be expected to keep the taps open and the flow directed decidedly into the hands of the wealthy few. It won’t be until after the election that Republican leaders will determine that, sadly, something must be done about America’s new sea of red ink. By destroying Social Security, Medicare, and every program intended to help the poor.
Republicans seem anxious that Trump should get off Twitter and “run on the economy.” After all, the stock market is up, though not as much as under Obama, and unemployment is down—again, not as much as in the previous administration.
But it’s Democrats who should be running on the economy. Because the Trump economy is fueled by history’s greatest daylight robbery: a historic shift of funds from the public trust into the hands of an extraordinary wealthy few.
The effects of that shift aren’t going to be paid for by those at the top. They’re going to be a gut-punch for those who are not in the billionaire club. And that punch will land all too soon after Election Day in 2020.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.