Next Story

Roswell councilman Igleheart accused of sexual relationship with teen

Clinton’s debate statement on the national debt misleading


At the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night, moderator Chris Wallace said both candidates are ignoring concerns about the rising national debt.

“The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says Secretary Clinton, under your plan, debt would rise to 86 percent of GDP over the next 10 years,” Wallace said. “Mr. Trump, under your plan, they say it would rise to 105 percent of GDP over the next 10 years. Question is — why are both of you ignoring this problem?”

Trump said the basis of the question was wrong because he will “create tremendous jobs.”

Clinton, meanwhile, said she pays for everything she proposes, primarily by increasing taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

“What I have put forward does not add a penny to the debt,” Clinton said.

Is that right?

Yes and no. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan policy group, says Clinton’s plans would increase the debt by a relatively small amount, $200 billion over a decade “above current law levels.” The Clinton campaign says a new business tax plan would generate an additional $275 billion to cancel out that debt increase.

However the numbers shake out, the debt would still grow by $9 trillion over 10 years because of interest payments related to the U.S. debt.

“Interest on the debt will become the fastest growing part of federal spending. In 2017, the next president will inherit a government projected to spend over $300 billion on interest payments that year alone, an amount that grows to more than $800 billion by 2025 — more than the current combined federal spending on the Defense Department, education, transportation, and medical research,” wrote Bob Bixby and Maya MacGuineas for the Brookings Institution.

So, as Wallace said, without further changes, debt would rise to above 86 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product under Clinton’s plan.

For the record, Wallace was also correct that the debt would grow faster if Trump is elected, according to independent researchers.

“We are encouraged that Clinton continues to largely pay for her new spending and that Trump has made substantial improvements to his plan, including a less costly tax plan and new spending cuts,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote.

“Unfortunately, neither candidate has presented a proposal to address our growing national debt and put it on a more sustainable path, nor have they offered a proposal for shoring up the Social Security, Medicare, or Highway trust funds. As it currently stands, Donald Trump’s proposals would still substantially worsen the debt.”

Our ruling

Clinton said, “What I have put forward does not add a penny to the debt.”

An independent analysis found Clinton’s proposals would add a relatively small amount to the debt, $200 billion over a decade. The Clinton campaign says a new business tax plan will address that, though the proposal hasn’t been independently analyzed.

Regardless, Clinton’s explanation leaves out the fact that debt would still rise by about $9 trillion over 10 years because of current policies. Clinton’s proposals don’t stem that increase.

Clinton’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details.

We rate Clinton’s statement Half True.

For the full fact-check, see www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/oct/20/hillary-clinton/what-hillary-clintons-plans-mean-us-debt/


Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Georgia Politics

The Right reacts to Graham-Cassidy
The Right reacts to Graham-Cassidy

A roundup of editorials Thursday takes a look at the Graham-Cassidy health care proposal. Will the bill strike the right balance between the federal government’s role in health care and what states will be expected to do? Here are some opinions from the Right. From Roll Call: The problem with the Graham-Cassidy plan is lack of momentum. A majority...
The Left slams Graham-Cassidy health care bill
The Left slams Graham-Cassidy health care bill

A roundup of editorials Thursday takes a look at the Graham-Cassidy health care proposal. Despite a heavy agenda, the bill is likely to come up on the Senate floor next week. Here are some opinions from the Left. 1. Cassidy-Graham is attractive in theory. But it has a giant flaw. From The Washington Post: An experiment in democracy is interesting...
Georgia AG gets 53 forms in probe of voter registration group
Georgia AG gets 53 forms in probe of voter registration group

Fifty-three allegedly forged voter applications are being referred to the state Attorney General’s Office for possible prosecution, a decision by the State Elections Board that effectively closes the Secretary of State Office’s 2014 fraud investigation involving an attention-grabbing registration drive by the New Georgia Project. The...
Battle over the fate of Dreamers flares in Georgia
Battle over the fate of Dreamers flares in Georgia

Jaime Rangel vividly recalls the day the letter arrived five years ago in his family’s mailbox in Chatsworth, an event that prompted his mother to burst into tears. A Mexican native who was brought to America as an infant, Rangel learned from the letter that he had been accepted into the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood...
Georgia AG gets 53 forms in fraud probe of Stacey Abrams' voter registration group
Georgia AG gets 53 forms in fraud probe of Stacey Abrams' voter registration group

The State Elections Board on Wednesday referred 53 allegedly forged voter applications to the Attorney General’s Office for possible prosecution, essentially closing a 2014 fraud investigation involving a massive registration drive by the upstart New Georgia Project.  The decision allows the office to decide whether to prosecute those involved...
More Stories