Exploring Trump's Claim Of Using Tariffs To Pay Down $21 Trillion In Debt

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Posted: Sep 05, 2018 9:43 AM
Exploring Trump's Claim Of Using Tariffs To Pay Down $21 Trillion In Debt

Trump claims he will use tariffs to pay down the national debt. Let's explore the idea with pictures.

Trump's Claim

Data for the above chart downloaded from US Government Debt, not an official government website. There are lots of excellent charts one can view already made or create from downloaded data.

Budgeted vs. Actual Deficits

I created the above chart showing budgeted deficits vs what actually happened. I calculated actual deficits by subtracting the year-over-year national debt from the year-over-year national debt from the prior year.

Projections vs Reality

In nearly all cases, the actual deficit is way higher than projected. Why?

Because the projected deficit does not include all of the amount owed to the Social Security Trust Fund. That amount is called off-budget. But when the calendar year rolls over, the difference magically appears as a bigger than projected increase in the national debt.

Trump Projected Deficits

Deficits under Trump are expected to range from $666 billion to $987 billion, increasing every year. The total projected sum is about $3.47 trillion.

Tariff Study

CNBC reports US Reaps More than $1.4 Billion from Steel and Aluminum Tariffs.

The obvious problem with the study is that it does not include any losses.

Let's ignore the losses and assume there are only gains. In fact, let's assume the gains will be 100 times greater annually, without any losses.

Question of the Day?

Even if the deficit actually comes in at the projected rate (trust me, it will underperform expectations), what is the likelihood tariffs will reduce the national debt?

The answer of course is ZERO.

Trump's budget will add a minimum of $500 billion every year to the national debt.