Clinton says she won’t add ‘a penny’ to the national debt. That’s highly unlikely.


From The Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton said again last week that she would not “add a penny to the national debt,” repeating a claim she made during her first debate with her Republican rival.

This claim is, at best, an exaggeration. Under Clinton’s policies, the national debt held by the public would increase from roughly $ 14 trillion today to more than $ 23 trillion in a decade, according to an analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That’s an increase of $ 9 trillion.

Clinton could offer several compelling arguments about the national debt without resorting to hyperbole.

While $ 9 trillion might sound like a colossal amount of money, it is less significant in the context of America’s already sizable national debt and continually expanding economy. Some economists, including former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, have even argued that an increase in the national debt could be beneficial.

In any case, as Clinton correctly noted, Donald Trump’s plans could increase the national debt above $ 28 trillion, according to the analysis. He has proposed both ambitious new federal expenditures along with historic reductions in taxes, which would force the government to borrow.

Here’s how the candidates’ policies would affect the national debt.

Talking about the size of the national debt in terms of trillions of dollars can be misleading. For a smaller country, $ 14 trillion in debt could be an overwhelming burden, but the U.S. economy is vast and still expanding.

For these reasons, economists usually talk about the national debt as a percentage of the broader economy. Under Clinton’s proposals, the debt would increase from about 77 percent of the gross domestic product today to 86 percent in a decade.

Clinton’s defenders might argue that this increase is not noticeably different from current projections. Clinton has proposed new spending, but she has also proposed new taxes to pay for almost all …

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