US national debt has increased $2 trillion since Donald Trump took office, new data shows

President reportedly not concerned because 'I won't be there'

Andrew Buncombe
Thursday 03 January 2019 20:49 EST
Donald Trump wishes everyone 'Happy New Year' for 2019

The US national debt has increased by more than $2 trillion dollars since Donald Trump entered the White House, according to new data.

Figures released by the Treasury Department showed the debt stood at $21.974 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when Mr Trump took office.

The debt stood represented 78 per cent of the US’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the fiscal year 2018, the highest percentage since 1950, analysis by CNN concluded.

The deficit, which measures the difference between what the government spends and what it collects, rose to 3.8 per cent of GDP in 2018, up from 3.5 per cent in 2017.

The national debt has been rising in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when Congress and Barack Obama approved stimulus funding in order to keep the economy afloat.

When Mr Trump first took office, having vowed to reduce it to zero in eight years it, it began to go down.

But analysts say it started to increase again as a result of a Republican tax cut, passed at the end of 2017, that a represented the largest of its kind in a generation.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, debt could grow to 96 per cent of GDP (or $29 trillion) by 2028.

“Three decades from now, for instance, debt held by the public is projected to be about twice as high in relation to GDP as it is this year—which would be a higher ratio than the United States has ever recorded,” it said in a new report.

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“Such high and rising debt would have serious consequences, both for the economy and for the federal budget. Federal spending on interest payments would rise substantially as a result of increases in interest rates, such as those projected to occur over the next few years.”

When he was campaigning for the White House, Mr Trump said he believed he could make the US debt free within eight years.

“I think I could do it fairly quickly,” he told The Washington Post.

To address the debt, Mr Trump in October announced an initiative to cut spending by five per cent across the various departments of his cabinet.

However, last year the Daily Beast website reported the president had privately expressed little concern about the numbers because “I won’t be here”.

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