9

The President owes some money. In 2016 Fortune estimated he owed $1.1 billion. Last December Mother Jones estimated he owed over $700 million, not including $2 billion in debt by real estate partnerships.

Three recent bills:

  1. Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017
  2. Presidential Tax Transparency Act
  3. We the People Democracy Reform Act of 2017

...seem tailored in part to help answer questions like this, if they become law.

Supposing however, that those bills do not become law, are there any more canonical sources than the above cited articles, (or perhaps a regularly updated online debt counter), for evaluating or surveying a best estimate of this number?

  • 2
    Personally, or the corporations that he owns? The latter is really irrelevant to politics. – user4012 Jan 22 '17 at 19:47
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    @user4012, re "irrelevant to politics": suppose a President owns Acme Widget, and there's a Widget taxation bill that can be vetoed. – agc Jan 22 '17 at 19:53
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    @user4012 most (all) presidents divest themselves of stock ownership prior to taking office. The very fact trump hasn't makes this relevant to politics. – user1530 Jan 22 '17 at 22:06
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Is there a more canonical source, (or perhaps a regularly updated online debt counter), for evaluating this number?

He has to report financial information to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). That would be the most up to date source at the moment.

The President has to report financial information each year. For example, here are Barack Obama's and Joe Biden's 2015 forms. They were released in May of 2016, so there seems to be some kind of delay. Also, they don't show a 2009 release, so it may be a while before Donald Trump and Mike Pence have to file their first one.

Only the Trumps have enough information to give a real online debt counter. It seems unlikely that they will do this. They never even released his tax forms, as every other serious presidential candidate has done.

  • 2
    "as every other serious presidential candidate has done" how do you define "serious" other than the release of tax information? The statement would be much stronger if it used less loaded language and more independently verifiable fact. – atk Jan 22 '17 at 23:06
  • Most anyone running for president is, on some level, serious about it. Some are more serious than others, of course. – user1530 Jan 23 '17 at 0:07
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    Since 1972, every major party (Republican/Democrat) nominee. except Gerald Ford in 1976 and Donald Trump in 2016. has released tax returns. – Brythan Jan 23 '17 at 0:28
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    @Brythan And Ford wasn't elected - he was selected by Nixon, after Nixon's running-mate and original VP had to quit. Which makes Ford the only President to serve, who had neither been elected President nor elected Vice-President. – Baard Kopperud Jan 23 '17 at 19:00
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What's the most accurate account of the current President's monetary debts?

Most people are unable to distinguish between his personal debt, or the debt of companies he controls. or if he is a borrower or a guarantor on the debt.

Most small real estate developers put on a guaranty or becomes a co-borrower to their real estate projects. Most large real estate development companies use non-recourse debt.

So it is unlikely that trump has much personal debt / guaranty, aside from the usual ones - payables to his personal staff, credit cards, overdrawn facilities, ...

It is very likely that his development companies are heavily in debt, as that's just how real estate development works. However, those debts are usual private / bilateral and unless he authorizes to disclose, we don't know about them.

  • Currently this Q abstracts those three things into one vague lump, but could be changed to include three distinct sub-questions. I'm not clear what difference that would make regarding conflicts of interest however. Please clarify which, if any, sort of debts you believe would be the most influential on the behavior an officeholder. – agc Mar 23 '17 at 14:01
  • Whatever the debt to asset ratio may be, some assets might have been overestimated, according to a 11/15/17 Crain's New York Business article: "Last year’s $9.5 billion in revenue reported by the [Trump] organization looks preposterous in light of federal filings made by the president in the past year. Those indicate the Trump Organization generates between $600 million and $700 million in annual revenue." – agc Nov 20 '17 at 4:07

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