President Trump made a number of claims about the economy in his first answer on Sean Hannity’s programme on Fox News on Wednesday.
This is what he said:
“The country – we took it over, it owed $20 trillion. As you know, the last eight years they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10tn, right? And yet, we picked up $5.2tn just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value. So you could say in one sense, we’re really increasing values. And maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt.”
Let’s go through that one claim at a time.
“The country – we took it over, it owed $20tn”
The Treasury handily gives daily updates on the level of debt, which is the total amount owed by the US government.
On 20 January 2017, the date of the president’s inauguration, the total outstanding public debt was $19.95tn (£15.2tn).
So he’s right on that one.
“As you know, the last eight years they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10tn, right?”
On 20 January 2009, when President Obama was sworn in, the debt was $10.63tn. The difference is $9.32tn, which is not more than $10tn, but is still a lot of borrowing.
Comparing figures with the amount of debt borrowed in the whole history of the country is a bit tricky.
We have to assume he means since 1789, because that’s when the US Treasury’s records go back to.
Clearly there are problems with this comparison, because the economy in the late 18th Century is in no sense…
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