GOP Congressional Candidate Dan Webster’s Really Bad Math: The Entire World’s GDP Couldn’t Sustain U.S. Debt

Despite their history of running up the national debt when they are actually in power, leading conservatives have made complaining about the national debt a central theme of their political campaigns.

It was this theme that GOP candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dan Webster was touting at a meeting with voters late last month. While fearmongering about the amount of public debt the United States now holds, the congressional candidate went as far as to say that “you could combine all the economies of the world and you could not sustain the borrowing that we’re doing”:

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WEBSTER: We’re borrowing 4 billion dollars a day, that’s impossible. We are in trouble. We’re in big trouble. Even Hillary Clinton said two weeks ago that if the borrowing continues it will be a threat to national security. That’s not us. That’s them saying that. Even the congressional budget office has said that is unsustainable. You could combine all the economies of the world and you could not sustain the borrowing that we’re doing. So we have to turn off the faucet.

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When Webster refers to the “the borrowing that we’re doing,” he’s talking about the $1.3 trillion dollar budget deficit. It is simply incorrect that the rest of the world’s economies combined would not be able to sustain those levels of debt. The CIA World Factbook estimates that the Global World Product — the sum of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world’s nations — was approximately $58.15 trillion for 2009. Meaning that the global economy produced 44 times as much in 2009 as it would take to completely pay down the U.S. budget deficit.