President Donald Trump signed a budget deal last week that will add another $1.7 trillion to the national debt, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Despite promising to wipe out the national debt in eight years during his presidential campaign, the president has added an estimated $4.1 trillion to the country's debt within his first two and a half years in office.
Interest paid on the increasing national debt has surged, already surpassing the total spent all last year.
Net interest paid on the national debt has jumped up nearly $20 billion to $343 billion in the first 10 months of this fiscal year, already surpassing the $325 billion spent all of last year.
For comparison, in 2018, the federal government spent about $375 billion on children under the age of 19, according to the Urban Institute's Kids' Share report.
Projections find that the federal government spends about $1,200 per American on interest.
The president defended his actions on Twitter, claiming that there would be time to cut the budget later, after the 2020 election. "Budget Deal is phenomenal for our Great Military, our Vets, and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!" he wrote. "Two year deal gets us past the Election. Go for it Republicans, there is always plenty of time to CUT!"
But fiscal hawks warn that time is running out. "This deal ignores our large and growing fiscal imbalances and is a step in the wrong direction for our economy. We're already heading towards trillion dollar annual deficits, so adding more to the debt is the last thing we need," wrote Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, issued a stern warning to politicians on both side of the aisle. "Going forward, neither side can claim a mantle of responsible governing, and few have any moral ground to stand on—this is a bipartisan failure," she wrote of the budget deal. "With the national debt rising to historic levels—soon to overtake the size of our entire economy and beyond—and with our largest programs, Social Security and Medicare, spinning toward insolvency, our nation's answer is to make the problem worse at every turn."
Rush Limbaugh, a conservative shock jock and friend of the president, said last month that debt was no longer a priority for Republicans, and that it never had been. "Nobody is a fiscal conservative anymore," he said on his radio show. "All this talk about concern for the deficit and the budget has been bogus for as long as it's been around."
The Republican party has long considered itself the party of fiscal responsibility. In 2016, Trump outlined to Sean Hannity how he would prioritize cutting the national debt if elected president.
"It can be done. It will take place and it will go relatively quickly," he said. "If you have the right people, like, in the agencies and the various people that do the balancing you can cut the numbers by two pennies and three pennies and balance a budget quickly and have a stronger and better country."