The following is a fact-check from the 5/23 episode of Meet the Press.


1) The US has an annual deficit of $2 trillion – HALF TRUE

2) The interest to that debt is $383 billion – TRUE

DR. PAUL: We have an annual deficit of nearly $2 trillion. Interest alone on the debt is $383 billion.

1) According to the Treasury Department, the national debt for fiscal year 2009 was $1.786 trillion. Mr. Paul said that it was “nearly $2 trillion.” Our conclusion hinges on our understanding of “nearly.” It would be reasonable to assume that if you spent $1.78 on something, you could probably refer to the amount spent as “nearly $2.00” When the difference is 22 cents, that does not seem like a big deal, but when the difference is hundreds of billions of dollars, we believe it is misleading to classify $1.786 trillion as nearly $2 trillion. Because of this, we rate the first part of Mr. Paul’s statement HALF TRUE.

Incidentally, if you wanted to look at the total deficit for the length of one year specifically prior to May 22, 2010 when Mr. Paul made this statement, the national debt was $1.686 trillion. (5/21/09-5/22/10)

2) Also according to the Treasury Department, the net interest on the outstanding debt of fiscal year 2009 was indeed $383 billion. Because of this, we rate the second part of Mr. Paul’s statement TRUE.

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