We may not yet know who will be the next president of the United States, but no matter who ends up in the Oval Office, there’s a good chance their policies will cause an increase in the national debt.
Donald Trump would have a Miracle-Gro-like affect on the debt, increasing it by $11.5 trillion within 10 years, according to a new report that looks at the policies he’s put forth in his campaign. The researchers estimate Hillary Clinton would add $250 billion to the U.S.’s debt over the next decade.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released a report on Monday called “Promises and Price Tags: A Fiscal Guide to the 2016 Election,” which analyzes policies Trump and Clinton have outlined throughout their campaigns. The report criticizes the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees for president because they have not laid out proposals for tackling our growing national debt, though the authors wrote “[i]t is encouraging that, in this election, both candidates have put some emphasis on fiscal responsibility.”
That doesn’t cushion the blow of the numbers. For reference: Publicly held debt in the U.S. increased about $7.1 trillion since President Barack Obama took office, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, though a sharp, upward trend in the debt started a year before he was inaugurated. Right now, publicly held debt in the U.S. amounts to 75% of GDP. Clinton’s policies would increase that to 87% by 2026 and Trump’s would push it to 127% in the same time frame, the report says.
“Our estimates are rough, rounded and based on our understanding of the candidates’ policy proposals and details; they do not represent a final analysis,” according to a summary of the report.
The researchers explained the estimates in simple terms: The $250 billion increase in the national debt under Clinton can be attributed to “spending increases that are largely but not entirely paid for by revenue increases.” As for Trump, “significant increases in current law debt are primarily the result of very large reductions in revenue.”
How This Could Affect Your Finances
Right now, this is all theoretical, as a political candidate’s policies are merely platforms on which they run to win an election. Real change to government revenue and spending is a lot more complicated. Still, the proposals give voters an idea of what a leader’s priorities may be when they’re in a position to make policy changes.
It’s hard to predict exactly how the candidates policies and their impact on the national debt will affect consumers’ bank accounts. While keeping track of changes in federal fiscal policy can help a consumer make more informed financial decisions, it’s crucial for individuals to focus on how they can best manage the ups and downs of their personal financial situations, like their debt and credit scores. You can track your financial goals, like improving your credit, by getting two free credit scores on Credit.com. You can also keep an eye on your credit by getting your free annual credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.
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