Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Donald Trump thinks he invented phrase 'priming the pump'

United States president Donald Trump has suffered the ultimate online burn after the Merriam-Webster dictionary trolled him for claiming he coined a near 100-year-old phrase. "I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good", Trump said during a discussion about his tax plan.

Even Merriam-Webster, which has begun fact checking the president, posted on Twitter to correct him, saying: "Pump priming" has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933'. "One of the ideas in these spendings is to prime the economic pump", Hoover said in a 1935 speech.

Far from being a Trump-coined neologism, priming the pump has a long history in economic theory and was in widespread use by the 1930s.

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"Trump: "We have to prime the pump". During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly denounced the culture of debt and deficits and promised to end it once he got to Washington.

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"Mr President, can I just try you on a deal-making question?"

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But beyond that it's OK if the tax plan increases the deficit? Now, if we get the health-care [bill through Congress], this is why, you know a lot of people said, "Why isn't he going with taxes first, that's his wheelhouse?" The phrase means that a government will spend money to stimulate the economy during a recession while lowering taxes and interest rates as a way to bolster purchasing power.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin interjected during the interview that the administration believes its proposals can generate $2 trillion in revenue over the next decade.

(Nor is the USA the "highest-taxed nation in the world.") Trump added that the deficit would not be higher for long - perhaps two years - and that the hit to government revenues would be worth it: "we have to prime the pump".

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"That is the goal of their tax bill, and they need this money from your healthcare in order to do that", Ms Pelosi said after the House's vote.

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