President Biden Again Falsely Claims He ‘Cut the Debt’

( – In a speech at Lanham, Maryland, on Wednesday, President Joe Biden falsely claimed for the second time in less than three weeks that he had cut the federal “debt” over the past two years.

When Biden was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, the total federal debt was $27,751,896,236,414.77, according to the official numbers published by the U.S. Treasury. As of the close of business on Feb. 15, 2023—the latest day for which the debt numbers are currently available—the total federal debt was $31,454,875,345,039.44.

Thus, during Biden’s presidency the federal debt has increased by $3,702,979,108,624.67.

Biden has not reduced the federal debt; he has increased it by 13.3 percent in a little over two years.

In his speech in Maryland on Wednesday, Biden discussed his stand-off with House Republican leaders over the federal debt limit–and then claimed that his administration had “cut the debt.”


“Some of our Republican friends in the House are talking about taking the economy hostage over the full faith and credit of the United States,” Biden said, according to the White House transcript of his address. “They say unless I accept their economic plans, then— which is irre-—totally irresponsible—they’re not going to pay the national debt, which took 200 years to accumulate.

“This is not the debt this year or last year,” he said. “We cut the debt by $1.7 billion [trillion] the last two years. This is a 200-year obligation that’s been accumulated.

“And I made it clear in the State of the Union I will not negotiate whether or not we pay our debt. I will not allow this nation to default,” said Biden.

As previously reported, Biden also claimed in a speech he delivered at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York City on Jan. 31 that he had cut the “debt” by $1.7 trillion.

“The two years since we’ve been in power, we’ve reduced the national debt, so far, $1.7 trillion in two years.  The—the debt—$1.7 trillion,” Biden said, according to the transcript of his remarks posted by the White House.

What has been reduced by approximately $1.7 trillion in the last two fiscal years is not the “debt,” but the federal deficit, which reached an historic high in fiscal 2020—at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic.

In that fiscal year, which was President Donald Trump’s last full fiscal year in office, the deficit hit $3,132,439,000,000, according to Biden’s own Office of Management and Budget. In fiscal 2021, it dropped to $2,775,337,000,000; and, then, in fiscal 2022, it dropped to $1,414,950,000,000.

The $1,414,950,000,000 deficit (not debt) in fiscal 2022 was $1,717,489,000,000 less than the $3,132,439,000,000 deficit of fiscal 2022.

However, the fiscal 2021 and 2022 deficits of $2,775,337,000,000 and $1,414,950,000,000 did not “cut the debt.” They dramatically increased it.

Does Biden not understand the difference between the annual deficit and the accumulating debt of the federal government? In his Wednesday speech, Biden said that the Republicans were “not going to pay the national debt, which took 200 years to accumulate.” Then he said: “This is a 200-year obligation that’s been accumulated.”

The “deficit” measures the difference between a given fiscal year’s revenues and expenditures. The “debt”—as Biden rightfully pointed out, while claiming he had “cut” it–is the amount that the government has borrowed over the past 200-plus years and has not yet paid back.

In his State of the Union Address on Feb. 7, President Biden used the terms “debt” and “deficit” accurately and claimed in that speech that he had “cut the deficit”—not the debt—“by more then $1.7 trillion” in two years.

“In the last two years, my administration has cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion –- the largest deficit reduction in American history,” Biden said in that speech.

In his State of the Union, Biden attacked the Trump administration for increasing the “debt” by running a “deficit.”

“Under the previous administration, the American deficit went up four years in a row,” said Biden. “Because of those record deficits, no President added more to the national debt in any four years than my predecessor.

“Nearly 25 percent of the entire national debt that took over 200 years to accumulate was added by just one administration alone—the last one,” said Biden. “They’re the facts. Check it out. Check it out.”

During Trump’s presidency the deficit did in fact increase every year. In fiscal 2017, the year Trump took office, it was $665,446,000,000, according to OMB. In fiscal 2018, it rose to $779,138,000,000. In fiscal 2019, it rose to $983,592,000,000. And, in fiscal 2020, the year the COVID pandemic hit, it skyrocketed to $3,132,439,000,000.

On Jan. 20, 2017, the day Trump took office, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt was $19,947,304,555,212.49. On Jan. 20, 2021, the day that Biden succeeded Trump, the federal debt was $27,751,896,236,414.77. Thus, under Trump, the debt rose $7,804,591,681,202.28.

Biden’s fiscal 2023 budget proposal, however, called for deficits in excess of $1.1 trillion every year for the next decade. By contrast, Trump ran an annual deficit that exceeded $1 trillion only in fiscal 2020 in the face of the COVID pandemic.

By fiscal 2032, under Biden’s budget proposal, the annual federal deficit would exceed $2 trillion—hitting $2,014,000,000,000

Under Biden’s proposal, as reported by Biden’s OMB, the federal debt would rise to $44,797,000,000,000 by the end of fiscal 2032. That would be an increase of $17,045,103,763,585.23—or 61.4 percent–from the $27,751,896,236,414.77 in debt the federal government held when Biden took office.


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