Trump indicates he has no idea how the national debt works

Cheryl Sanders
October 13, 2017

So far, so good. When he left office this past January, the USA owed approximately $19.9 million.

Mr. Trump and his aides have suggested that his tax plan, which still lacks key details but would cut business tax rates sharply and reduce taxes on a wide range of individuals, will spark so much additional economic growth that it will reduce deficits by $1 trillion over the next decade.

Also, more or less accurate - $9 trillion to be exact.

In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Trump noted that the stock market has done well during his first year in office, then claimed that "maybe in a sense we're reducing debt".

"So you could say, in one sense, we're really increasing values".


Huh? To say this is a head-scratcher is an understatement. "A growing stock market is not going to fix that".

But higher stock prices reflect corporate profits.

Mr Trump's apparent ignorance of the custom follows weeks of condemnation from the 71-year-old about NFL players "disrespecting" the country's flag by refusing to kneel during the national anthem, which is traditionally played ahead of all American sporting events. To cut the debt, Congress has to spend less or raise taxes.

Twice a day, as the American flag is raised and lowered on US military bases and other installations, a bugle plays "Retreat".

Speaking to Sean Hannity, Trump touted the stock market's $5.2 trillion in gains since his election, although he went on to compare it to the amount of the national debt, an apples-and-oranges situation. "But it's absurd to contend that the national debt has fallen because of this".


The president is right about a couple of the underlying facts, though.

"They sat in a room and they said, 'Wow, we look bad.' The morning after - in fact it's been written about in various books or a book - but they said, 'Why did you lose the election?' 'Ah, it was Russian Federation!"

As for that stock market rally, the Standard and Poor's 500 is up almost 20% since his election - an impressive rally.

"In no sense does the stock market rally wipe out the national debt", said Romans.


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