The Lies of Donald Trump: The National Debt

It’s tedious to try to rebut the stream of lies that come out of Donald Trump. Worse, there’s research that shows it is possibly futile. The combination of the True Believer Effect and the impact of the Big Lie are serious barriers to changing the minds of Trump voters. But, refreshed by a birding trip and a few days away, WC will step back in to the breach.

Yesterday, The Donald issued this tweet:


This is a lie in at least three ways.

First, the National Debt has barely budged since Trump was sworn in to office. Debt held by the public was $14,403.7 trillion on Inauguration today. On Friday, February 21 it was $14,403.6 trillion. That’s a decrease of less than $100 million, or 0.000007%. Hardly $12 billion; in fact, it’s about 0.0083% of what Trump claimed.

Second, the federal government is operating under a budget passed before Trump became President, so even if the overall debt had decreased, his administration had little to do with it. Credit for any reduction belongs to the Obama Administration.

Third, and maybe most importantly, when President Obama took office the economy was in the worst shape in decades. In January 2009, when Obama became president, the country was in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The US economy lost 702,000 jobs in February 2009 and 832,000 in March 2009, Gross domestic product growth had collapsed, and foreclosures, especially residential foreclosures, had soared to record levels.

In response to this financial crisis, Obama did what presidents should do during recessions: took on debt to stimulate the economy. In a recession, private investment collapses. Generally accepted economic theory concludes that the government should step in and induce investment to prop up the stumbling private sector of the economy.

Which is what President Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush did. Congress enacted and they signed laws to pump large amounts of capital into the economy to both save the financial sector and get people back to work. President Bush signed the Toxic Asset Relief Program in October 2008 which used just over $426 billion in federal funds to “bail out” the country’s largest banks. President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 which pumped $831 billion in federal funds into infrastructure.

It worked, too, although larger and follow up appropriations would have made it work better.

By contrast, President Trump has inherited — as he even noted — a country with a vastly improved economy. You can’t compare the first month of President Obama’s administration with the first month of President’s Trumps: the economic status of the United States is drastically different.

So the reason the media hasn’t the claimed change in national debt is that it’s a lie. President Trump may want to lie but the national media generally doesn’t.

It’s just another lie.