Monday, February 12, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He introduced a budget that would add record amounts to the deficit, after running as a deficit hawk.

Trump released his proposed budget for the fiscal year 2019 today. Its specific priorities are already provoking criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, but the biggest surprise for Trump supporters is likely to be its effect on the budget deficit. If adopted, it is projected to raise the United States' debt by $7.1 trillion over the next ten years.

The United States has accumulated about $20.6 trillion in debt over its first 241 years, so Trump's budget would increase that by about 34% over the next ten.

As a candidate, Trump claimed he would eliminate the debt--not the deficit, but the entire debt--over the course of two terms as president.

Then again, the specific proposals he made as a candidate had a price tag of more than $11 trillion in increased debt, so arguably he is only breaking the campaign promises about reducing the debt, and keeping the ones about massively increasing it.

Why does this matter?

  • People who heard Trump say he was going to eliminate the federal debt might have thought he intended to at least lower the federal debt.
  • A budget is a statement of priorities.