Better on national debt: Clinton or Trump?

revenuesYou’re not surprised to hear that Hillary Clinton would increase the national debt by $200 billion over the next decade.

Liberals, Democrats, they have no business running the country, spending money like drunken sailors.

The businessman in the race, Donald Trump, he’ll run the country like, well, like a business.

Actually, judging from a report released on Thursday by the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, it would be more accurate to say that Trump would run the country like a businessman who has filed for bankruptcy multiple times.

The Trump plan would add $5.3 trillion – that’s trillion, with a t – to the national debt over the next decade, pushing the debt load to 105 percent of GDP by 2026.

The current debt load for the U.S. is over $14 trillion, 77 percent of GDP. Just following current policies, the debt will grow to 86 percent by 2026.

The Clinton plan, in the CRFB analysis, would keep the debt load in that 86 percent range by 2026, which still isn’t the greatest news for a country that has had issues with deficit spending dating back to Ronald Reagan.

(Yes, sacrilege, talking about Reagan that way, as if he was a profligate spender, but he was.)

Breaking down the two candidates’ spending plans, Clinton would increase spending by $1.65 trillion over the next decade, including about $500 billion of spending on college education, $300 billion each on paid family leave and infrastructure, and significant new health-related spending.

The Clinton plan would increase revenue by $1.5 trillion on net, including $1.05 trillion from increased income taxes on high earners and $150 billion of net business tax increases. Some of these tax changes were added to her plan just this week. Clinton’s plan would also result in roughly $50 billion of additional interest costs over a decade.

Where Trump moves things in the wrong direction is his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy – big surprise there, the billionaire cutting taxes on other billionaires. CRFB has the Trump tax cut pulling $5.8 trillion of revenue out of the government coffers, with a net spending reduction of $1.2 trillion, primarily cutting healthcare and Medicaid spending, which is just moving numbers, in a sense, because somebody has to pay for the delivery of healthcare services for low-income families and seniors, unless we’re just going to stop delivering those services.

Supply-side economists, if any still exist, will bring up the Laffer curve to beat the dead horse on lower taxes on the wealthy serving as a stimulus to economic growth.

Keynesians, who have history on their side, could point to the 1990s economy, which turned bullish after the 1994 tax increase under Bill Clinton that Republicans called the “largest tax increase in our nation’s history.”

Funny how those things work out in practice, as opposed to sketching on the back of a napkin.

Anyway, you’re still going to think Trump is the better candidate when it comes to the economy. And you’re still going to be wrong. Just wanted you to know that about how you’re wrong.

Column by Chris Graham



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