Caged animal: Economist explains how Trump will grow more dangerous if the economy slows
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

If you think President Donald Trump's erratic behavior is disturbing now, just wait until he has to deal with an economic slowdown or even a recession.

That's the message that Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist to Vice President Joe Biden, is delivering in a sobering new Washington Post column that predicts economic growth will slow next year as the effects of the 2017 tax cut wear off.

And if that happens, Bernstein warns, Trump could really go off the rails.

"I'm genuinely concerned about President Trump’s response," Bernstein writes. "I’m seriously worried about what he might do if some of the more negative forecasts cited above come to fruition. A ramped-up military action -- basically, a strong, impulsive, Trumpian dose of military Keynesianism -- cannot be taken off the table."

What makes this particularly worrisome, Bernstein contends, is that it may not even take a full-blown recession to set Trump off. Instead, a general slowdown where wage growth once again stalls and the unemployment rate starts rising may be enough to turn Trump into a "wounded tiger."

"I can tell you a significant growth slowdown [is] very likely," he concludes. "That would be problematic enough without such a volatile and impulsive president who has heretofore been unchecked by a complacent Republican Congress. With him at the helm, I worry where he might try to steer a ship of state that’s not sinking, but isn’t cruising along as fast as he wants it to."