So it was perhaps ironic when Trump, who has relied in part on increased deficit spending to boost the economy, last month directed advisers to craft a plan to reduce the federal deficit. It was perhaps even more ironic when he dismissed proposals that would actually help balance the budget.
Even as Trump has told aides he’s finally interested in taking steps to reduce deficits, he has floated several ideas that would further expand them. He has proposed a 10 percent tax cut for the middle class, a huge package of infrastructure spending and billions of dollars for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He hasn’t specified how he would pay for any of those things.
Over the years, Trump has pushed many proposals — including ones that are ineffectual, bizarre and even illegal, that he says would reduce the federal deficit or debt (Trump often conflates the two). You can watch many of these in the video above.
Trump has cited the deficit that he helped reach unprecedented levels to justify policy decisions, including loosening offshore drilling regulations, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord and hiking tariffs.
Indeed, nearly two years into his first term, Trump appears more focused on reducing the trade deficit than on reducing the federal deficit (and falsely believes one will lead to the other).
“It’s literally first-grade business, it’s so simple,” Trump said last month about how reducing the trade deficit can reduce the federal deficit. “They’ve been so used to making so much money off our country, and we can’t let them do that anymore. We’re going to start paying down debt. We have a lot of debt.”