The Sound Bite: Trump on debt

Kai Ryssdal May 9, 2016
HTML EMBED:
COPY
 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on Thursday in Charleston, West Virginia.  Mark Lyons/Getty Images

The Sound Bite: Trump on debt

Kai Ryssdal May 9, 2016
 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on Thursday in Charleston, West Virginia.  Mark Lyons/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Now that this fall’s election is basically set (delegate math reality being what it is),  we’re going to do a segment called The Sound Bite every now and then. We play you a piece of tape — sometimes about the election, sometimes about something else — and tell you what’s actually going on.

We started during our Weekly Wrap on Friday, with GOP nominee-in-all-but-fact Donald Trump. In a phone interview on CNBC Thursday, Trump talked about how he might convince holders of U.S. government bonds that they might have to take a discount. A haircut, as bond traders like to say.

“Debt was sort of always interesting to me,” Trump said. “Now we’re in a different situation with the country, but I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal.”

As we said on Friday, that would be irresponsible at best, dangerous and globally destabilizing at worst.

Today, though, from the fair-is-fair department, is another quote from Mr. Trumpalso on the general topic of U.S. debt:

“People said I want to go and buy debt and default on debt, and I mean, these people are crazy. This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default, because you print the money, I hate to tell you, OK? So there’s never a default.”

Here’s the thing: He’s right.

We do control our own currency. And we could print as much of it as we need to pay our debts. But we don’t want hyperinflation.

Hyperinflation is where there’s so much money in circulation, an individual dollar eventually becomes worthless — and then there’s the ensuing economic collapse. See Germany after World War I.

What or who else do you want to hear about on The Sound Bite? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook. Twitter works too.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.