POLITICS 02/15/2019 12:38 am
By Mary Papenfuss
Donald Trump vowed during his presidential campaign that he would eliminate the nation’s $19.9 trillion debt in eight years. But the country’s annual deficit just jumped 41.8 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal year over the same period the previous year. And total debt is now the highest it has ever been in U.S. history, according to Treasury Department figures.
The nation’s debt — the accumulation of annual deficits — has now ticked up to $22.06 trillion, more than $2 trillion higher than when Trump took office.
Skyrocketing debt can create a crisis for a nation as more of its GDP is devoured by interest costs.
The budget deficit from October through December — the first quarter of the current fiscal year — totaled $318.9 billion, up from a deficit of $225 billion for the same quarter the previous year.
The deficit was fueled by the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Trump pushed through Congress in December 2017 — which slashed corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent and took effect in January 2018.
Trump vowed just months before his election that he would eliminate the entire national debt in two terms as president — a claim economists found outlandish. The key, Trump said, would be to renegotiate trade deals — the “big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on,” including those with China, he told The Washington Post at the time. Trump has yet to reach a deal with China, and his tariffs on Chinese goods have triggered a trade war.