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Public Debt of the United States

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Editor’s Remarks:
President Trump has placed economic growth and fiscal responsibility at the forefront of his agenda. Just as well, since US public debt soared to $19.6trn last year – far above the UK’s £1.68trn. However, as a fraction of national GDP, the US debt amounts to 77% while the UK’s is a staggering 85%. By 2027, Trump aims to balance the US budget and reduce publicly held debt to 60% of GDP – the lowest since 2010, the year Obama took office. Indeed, during the eight years that his predecessor was in power, public debt soared. It appears that Trump now has the same task that George Osborne, the former UK chancellor, faced in 2010: slash the budget. Last week, Trump made it clear that this was his aim, but it remains to be seen whether he can get his proposals through Congress. In any case, one wonders whether governments will ever learn to adopt ongoing, long-term fiscal responsibility rather than resort to oscillating periods of profligate spending and severe austerity.

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