Donald Trump Fudges Deficit Math at Debate


Donald Trump attempted to defend his economic plan last night, arguing that it would save the government money and reduce the deficit. But moderator Chris Wallace noted that according to the Tax Foundation, his plan would increase the deficit by over $10 trillion.

When Wallace asked how Trump would deal with this, the billionaire dismissed his concerns by saying that it would be made up by eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. Wallace then pressed Trump on what specifically he would cut.

Trump replied:

“Department of Education. We’re cutting Common Core. We’re getting rid of Common Core. We’re bringing education locally. Department of Environmental Protection. We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.

We have various other things. If you look at the IRS, if you look at every single agency, we can cut it down, and I mean really cut it down and save. The waste, fraud, and abuse is massive.”

However, as Reason’s Peter Suderman points out, that’s not going to be a big enough dent.

“Okay, fine. Cut the Department of Education entirely. Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (we’ll assume that’s what he meant by “Department of Environmental Protection”).

Even if you managed to completely cut all spending related to those entire departments, it still wouldn’t even begin to eliminate the deficit we already have. As Wallace went on to note, this year’s deficit alone is $544 billion. Trump’s tax plan would add an additional $10 trillion in deficits over the next years. Wallace put this to Trump, telling him, “your numbers don’t add up, sir.”

Trump then tried to switch to drug costs, arguing that Medicare could save $300 billion dollars by negotiating drug prices. However, Wallace pointed out that Medicare only spends $78 billion dollars on drugs in total. Not to mention, Americans don’t even spend $300 billion dollars on prescription drugs.

Trump tried to defend his position, referencing ‘other things’ and said ‘we don’t negotiate anything.’

This isn’t Trump’s first tumble with the fallout over his tax plan. He defended it back in October, arguing that it wouldn’t increase the deficit, though both the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center have said it would, as Trump won’t cut entitlements.

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