When then-candidate Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency in 2016, “expert” economists and analysts predicted his tax, trade and regulatory policies would prove disastrous to the economy.
They further asserted that Trump’s economic policies would most likely push the national debt dramatically higher than the $19.9 trillion it stood at when Trump took office in January 2017.
Since taking office, President Trump has proceeded to slash costly and unnecessary regulations left and right while restructuring trade deals and passing into law substantial tax cuts for corporations and individuals, all of which has contributed to what can only be described as a booming economy.
The national debt has steadily increased from $19.9 to $21.1 trillion over that time as well, as could be expected — though not near as dramatically or at as high a rate as the “experts” had foretold.
Then something rather odd occurred between April and June of this year, as the growth rate of national debt seemed to flatten out and actually decrease somewhat over time.
According to a daily history of the national debt compiled by Treasury Direct, the national debt stood at $21,119,428,167,134.32 on April 2.
That amount fluctuated for several days before dropping substantially to a low point of $21,030,629,980,055.97 on May 1, prior to increasing somewhat, quite possibly the result of tax revenues flooding into the treasury over the course of the month.
As of June 1, the national debt stood at $21,083,101,841,090.82, a difference of $36.3 billion.
The national debt is known to fluctuate slightly from time to time from a myriad of factors, and though the president’s detractors would be loath to admit it, there is little doubt that Trump’s economic policies have played a role in this admittedly marginal reduction of the debt.
That said, $36 billion is not an amount that can be dismissively waved away, and signifies real money that could be used to fund other initiatives of the president that Congress seems incapable of funding.
Such as a border wall, perhaps?
According to a 2017 report from Reuters, the Department of Homeland Security released an official estimate of what the costs would be to construct a barrier along much of the southern border with Mexico.
That DHS report, which took into account the costs of construction and materials as part of a three-year construction plan, estimated the border wall would bear a price tag of approximately $21.6 billion.
As shown above, that amount was more than realized in the reduction of the national debt over just a two-month period, proving it is not an impossible amount to find or make free from other obligations.
Make no mistake, the national debt remains far too high and will inevitably continue to grow, thanks in large part to incredibly excessive spending by Congress and long-term programs that were seemingly designed to spend ever-increasing amounts of funds over time.
That said, a continuation of Trump’s pro-business economic policies and booming economy — combined with increased tax revenues overall from corporations and individuals reaping the fiscal benefits of those policies — could stem the growth of the debt and even lead to marginal, potentially even substantial, reductions in the debt over time.
If Trump could only work with Congress to also decrease their out-of-control levels of spending, it would not be difficult at all to find the funds for his border wall or other planned initiatives, while possibly even reducing the national debt at an even more significant rate.