President Trump saying: Maybe in a sense we're reducing debt

President Trump made numerous claims concerning the financial system in his first reply on Sean Hannity’s programme on Fox News on Wednesday.

That is what he mentioned:

“The nation – we took it over, it owed $20 trillion. As you understand, the final eight years they borrowed greater than it did in the entire historical past of our nation. In order that they borrowed greater than $10tn, proper? And but, we picked up $5.2tn simply within the inventory market. Presumably picked up the entire thing by way of the primary 9 months, by way of worth. So you could possibly say in a single sense, we’re actually rising values. And possibly in a way we’re decreasing debt.”

Let’s undergo that one declare at a time.

“The nation – we took it over, it owed $20tn”

The Treasury handily provides daily updates on the extent of debt, which is the overall quantity owed by the US authorities.

On 20 January 2017, the date of the president’s inauguration, the overall excellent public debt was $19.95tn (£15.2tn).

So he is proper on that one.

“As you understand, the final eight years they borrowed greater than it did in the entire historical past of our nation. In order that they borrowed greater than $10tn, proper?”

Practically proper.

On 20 January 2009, when President Obama was sworn in, the debt was $10.63tn. The distinction is $9.32tn, which isn’t greater than $10tn, however continues to be loads of borrowing.

Evaluating figures with the quantity of debt borrowed in the entire historical past of the nation is a bit tough.

We now have to imagine he means since 1789, as a result of that is when the US Treasury’s records return to.

Clearly there are issues with this comparability, as a result of the financial system within the late 18th Century is in no sense comparable with the one at the moment.

If we take the excellent debt on inauguration day in 2009 as the overall quantity borrowed since 1789, then President Obama didn’t borrow greater than that, he borrowed $1.31tn lower than that.

After all, that internet debt determine just isn’t the overall quantity borrowed. The overall quantity borrowed can be significantly greater than that as a result of some debt could have been repaid over the previous few hundred years.

And if it is not fairly true in money phrases over that interval then it can actually not be true utilizing any measure that takes into consideration the expansion of the financial system.

“And but, we picked up $5.2tn simply within the inventory market.”

Bloomberg’s US change market capitalisation (measuring the worth of all listed firms) places the present worth at $28.39tn, whereas the worth the day after the inauguration was $25.55tn, in order that’s a rise of $2.84tn.

However we all know from President Trump’s Twitter account that he was really evaluating with the extent on election day.

On eight November, the market capitalisation was $23.89tn, so it has grown by $four.5tn.

That is not fairly $5.2tn but it surely’s nonetheless development of about 19%, which is fairly hefty.

“Presumably picked up the entire thing by way of the primary 9 months, by way of worth. So you could possibly say in a single sense, we’re actually rising values.”

This bit is more durable to interpret, but it surely appears like he’s evaluating the US debt with the worth of the shares on the US inventory change.

Market capitalisation just isn’t the federal government’s cash – it’s shareholders’ cash.

It would result in extra taxes being paid finally, however the two figures don’t belong in the identical class.

“And possibly in a way we’re decreasing debt.”

Bear in mind, on inauguration day, the debt was $19.95tn.

Properly, the Treasury’s newest determine for 10 October was $20.38tn, in order that’s gone up by $430bn.

Debt did really fall within the early months of the presidency, but it surely jumped on eight September when the president signed a invoice elevating the debt ceiling.


Read more from Reality Check

Follow us on Twitter