Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump falsely claims credit for debt drop - will he next claim responsibility for the tides?

NY Times

In a message posted on Twitter on Saturday, President Trump highlighted a dip in the national debt during his first month in office, contrasting it with an increase in the first month of the Obama administration.

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
The media has not reported that the National Debt in my first month went down by $12 billion vs a $200 billion increase in Obama first mo.

The numbers are broadly accurate, but the lack of attention to them is for good reason: Neither president bore responsibility for changes in the federal debt in his opening month in the White House. The slight decline cited by Mr. Trump — a drop of 0.06 percent, according to Treasury data — is a temporary fluctuation, not a change in direction.

The federal debt is determined by the government’s decisions about taxing and spending, and by the strength of the American economy. The debt was increasing rapidly in early 2009 because the economy was in free fall, and because of policy decisions made during the administration of President George W. Bush.

The debt is rising more slowly now because economic growth has strengthened and because of policy decisions made during Mr. Obama’s administration. But the debt is on a clear upward trend. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in January that the debt would increase by $559 billion in the current fiscal year, ending in September.

The exact amount of the debt bounces around that trend line because the Treasury borrows money by selling securities with maturities — or repayment dates — ranging from 28 days to 30 years. That creates an irregular pattern of inflows and outflows from the federal cash box.[...]

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, issued a statement applauding the president for focusing on the national debt while noting that “the improvement this early in his term has to do with normal fluctuations in spending and revenues rather than new policies he has implemented.” [...]

The national debt increased sharply during Mr. Obama’s first term as the government increased spending in response to the 2008 financial crisis. The debt grew more slowly during his second term as the economy improved and tax increases brought more money into the government’s coffers.


  1. Thank you Mr. Trump for making debt reduction a central part of your economic policy. And giving us encouragement through your pointing out that the debt is falling. Let's take it to zero!

  2. This is one of the dumber things Trump has said, and of course, he picked up by seeing it on Fox News. Just to simplify what is wrong about his claim, think about your own bank account. Even if one is sliding further and further into debt, there are days when his balance will increase, e.g., the day his salary enters the bank account. If Trump would have picked the previous day, not the one he arbitrarily referred to, it would have showed an increase in the debt,. These numbers are measured yearly for a reason.

  3. Yes and "thank you" Mr. Trump for irresponsibly taking credit for anything that you think burnishes your image - even though you clearly had nothing to do with it. Trumps economic program will clearly not reduce debt but will vastly increase it. Wishful thinking is not the same thing as making it happen.

    Following Trump's approach - I just have to shut my eyes and I know you will disappear!

  4. It is not falling. Learn the facts.

  5. Have you ever been in a hole you couldn't climb out of, but had to in order to save your life? The most important ingredient for survival is hope. The belief you can do it. Even though the reality is you can't do it. So you fool yourself a little. You imagine you can do it. You grab onto a rock jutting from the wall and pull yourself up a little. You say to yourself, "Hey, I can do this. I'm going to get out of here." Then you slip down again. But you don't give up.

    Mr. Trump is heading the national cheerleading squad. So you go ahead. You go ahead and wallow in the squalor of anarchy that will sweep the world if the U.S. economy tanks. For me, I'll keep on fighting.

  6. Wishful thinking is the first step to making it happen. Respectfully, disagree.

    Closing one's eyes and imagining a different reality does impact the world. I've witnessed it too many times to doubt it.

  7. Trump is not a cheerleader. He in fact is the leader of the Wester World. Your explanation makes sense if he was in the opposition or was campaigning for office. BUT HE WON. It is time to govern not conduct revival meetings

  8. Wishful thinking is not part of the tools of the President of the U.S. Relying on imagination - and not facts is similar to telling the driver of the car - don't look at the road. Just close your eyes and imagine where you are going and drive accordingingly.

    what you are describing applies to the powerless - the best they can do is have hope that things will get better. It is a disaster however for those who actually have power and control over their lives.

  9. What in the world are you talking about? The U.S. economy is not tanking, it is doing fairly well by real, measurable, standards. There is no need to invent false statistics, such as the national debt going down.

  10. What you just wrote is supposed to amount to a defense ?! Oh, God help us indeed...!
    Truly hopeless.

  11. "Growing federal debt also would increase the probability of a sudden fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose confidence in the government’s ability to manage the budget and the government would thereby lose its ability to borrow at affordable rates. Such a crisis would…probably have a very significant negative impact on the country."
    -from the Congressional Budget Office, as quoted in

    It's like going ice skating on thin ice. Everything is fine....

  12. I still don't understand you at all. If the federal debt is in fact a major problem, Trump lying about it decreasing is not going to solve anything. I don't think the investors are fooled.

  13. A lot of the economy is about confidence. Wall Street is sometimes said to be ruled by greed and fear. If we stop to think about, it is only because we all collectively believe these little pieces of green paper have value that they have any value at all (aside from, say, rolling some tobacco in them to make a cigarette). Economy=Emotion to a great extent.

    Consider this: if the liberal mainstream media were touting the danger of the national debt the way they screech about contacts with Russia, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It would be accepted liberal orthodoxy that the high debt threatens democracy.

    But the New York Times won't run these types of articles because the finger would end up pointing at the government entitlement programs. And these programs are sacrosanct to the liberals.

    Thus, as I've asserted repeatedly, the lack of reporting an issue is an important aspect of

    Mr. Trump is keeping the troops rallied. You may not find this reassuring. Rabbi Eidensohn certainly doesn't. It's my personal predilection that I like Mr. Trump's way of spinning the news.

  14. I agree that a lot of the economy is based on confidence. I still don't understand how you think that the president stating easily verifiable falsehoods can do anything to raise people's confidence. If anything, having a president who does not seem to grasp the basic mechanics of the economy will lead to a greater lack of confidence in the financial world.


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