Obama Cut the National Debt By $9 Trillion

On Wednesday, President Trump freestyled some stuff about the federal debt:

Just in the stock market alone, we have increased our economic worth by $5.2 trillion dollars….But listen to this because we’ve doubled — in the last eight years of the previous administration, the debt doubled, so that in eight years our debt — literally hundreds of years of debt — doubled in eight years to $20 trillion. But since the election on November 8th, 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.

Well, no, I had never heard those numbers in quite that way. Nor does this really make sense, even by Trumpian standards. Has Trump increased the value of our assets by $5.2 trillion or by “more than” $20 trillion?

Who knows? But let’s stick with the $5.2 trillion in stock market value. While all the rest of you have been moaning and groaning about how this comparison of the stock market to federal debt is “wrong” or “ridiculous” or “total nonsense,” I’ve been making concrete use of this new standard. Check it out:

This is great. It’s a whole new way of looking at the Obama era. Sure, federal debt went up by about $9 trillion, but the stock market went up by $18 trillion. That means Obama reduced our federal deficit by $9 trillion. Not bad!

Thanks to Trump, I guess Republicans are going to have to change their tune about Obama. Not only did he guide us out of a huge recession, but he slashed our national debt by trillions of dollars. It’s an amazing job, really. Thanks, Obama.

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And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

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