I see Trump’s suggestion that the US haircut holders of treasury debt through a different lens than most observers. Almost every year, I walk into an introductory economics class in the fall and try to disabuse students of the notion that debt and credit assets like bonds are two unrelated things. They are shocked to discover that the savings bonds many have stashed away are pieces of the “national debt”, and that eliminating this debt would mean draining the world of all such bonds—that America’s collective public debt is (apart from foreign holdings, which is another story) America’s collective private wealth. Yes, the unequal ownership of that wealth is scandalous, but that’s about how much inequality we have, not how much wealth.
So I see the same with the Donald. It doesn’t sound like Trump realizes that his own bond portfolio would take a hit. My guess is that he is as clueless as his supporters, none of whom have the slightest idea that the Great One has just proposed taking a slice out of their savings. Interestingly, this observation hasn’t appeared in the popular media yet, at least from what I’ve seen. Journos and pundits talk about how unorthodox the idea is and how it could trigger a financial crisis, but not that it’s a monetary form of self-cutting.