President Donald Trump raised eyebrows with comments linking stock market gains with declines in the federal debt during two appearances to tout his tax proposal in Pennsylvania.
First, in an Oct. 11 speech in an airplane hangar in Harrisburg, Trump said:
“Just in the stock market alone, we have increased our economic worth by $5.2 trillion. That’s right since Election Day — $5.2 trillion. Think about that. That’s a quarter of the $20 trillion that we owe. … In the last eight years of the previous administration, the debt doubled. … But since the election on Nov. 8, I’ve increased the value of your U.S. assets by more than the $20 trillion that we currently owe. You haven’t heard those numbers.”
During a subsequent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump made the linkage between stock market gains and debt decreases even clearer.
“The country — we took it over and owed over 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 $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked up 5.2 trillion 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.”
We decided to look into whether Trump had a point that the stock market gains on his watch effectively wiped out any of the debt incurred by his predecessor, Barack Obama. (The White House did not provide any further information to PolitiFact.)
Trump is somewhat off-base with those numbers. But the…
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