Our recent in-depth analysis Promises and Price Tags found that the national debt would continue to rise under a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump presidency (though much more so under Trump). Significant adjustments would be needed for either candidate to put debt on a sustainable path. With our new interactive "Debt-Fixer" tools, you can make your own adjustments.
In a follow-up paper, we found that Clinton could stabilize the debt at its current level by cutting all spending by 5 percent, raising taxes across the board by 3 points, or raising the top tax rate to 61 percent. For Trump, stabilizing the debt would require raising the significantly-reduced tax rates in his plan by 9 percent across the board; cutting all spending by 15 percent; or cutting spending outside of Social Security, Medicare, and defense by 44 percent.
But what if the candidates wanted to pursue a mixture of tax and spending adjustments? Our Debt-Fixers tools below allow you to explore different combinations of tax increases and spending cuts that would transform the candidates’ proposals into fiscally responsible ones. Your goal is to bring each candidate's plan into the zone of fiscal responsibility by stabilizing the debt, balancing the budget, or landing somewhere in between.
You can adjust Trump’s plan – which as currently designed would raise debt to 105 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in a decade – here:
And you can adapt Clinton’s plan – which as currently designed would allow debt to rise to 86 percent of GDP in a decade – here:
Tell us @BudgetHawks which approach you would use, and why.
Note: Due to rounding necessary for the interactive tool, results may differ slightly from published report.
Special thanks to our intern Rick Dionne for assembling this tool.