DETROIT (AP) — Donald Trump is focusing his economic message on boosting jobs and making America more competitive globally by cutting business taxes, reducing regulations and increasing domestic energy production.
With a speech Monday to the prestigious Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee seeks to reset his campaign and delve into a subject — the economy — that is seen as one of his strengths. It also is aimed at showing that Trump is a serious candidate despite a disastrous stretch that has prompted criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
Trump has been immersed in controversy over his repeated criticism of a Muslim-American family whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq, and his refusal for days to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. He announced his backing of Ryan on Friday.
While polls have shown that voters have deep concerns about Trump’s temperament and fitness for office, he fares better on the economy. On that topic, recent polling puts him ahead of or on par with Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic nominee is also focusing on the economy this week as she lays out plans for what her campaign describes as “the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II.” Clinton has argued that Trump is focused only on the wealthiest Americans. She has questioned his commitment to creating U.S. jobs, given the history of outsourcing at his companies.
On Monday, Clinton will visit the battleground state of Florida, where she will tour a small brewery and hold two rallies. On Thursday, she is set to deliver her own economic speech in Detroit, a city that has symbolized the nation’s manufacturing plight.
When he speaks in Detroit, Trump is expected to reiterate his plan for reducing income taxes, as well as lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent in an effort to draw new investment. He is also calling for eliminating the estate tax and a temporary moratorium on new regulations.
Among his specific proposals will be allowing parents to fully deduct the cost of childcare from their taxable income. He also is expected to call again for boosting domestic energy production — a plan his campaign estimates can add $6 trillion in local, state and federal revenue over four decades.
An economic adviser to the campaign, Stephen Moore, who helped work on the speech, said Trump’s policies were aimed at boosting economic growth to bolster middle-class workers, whose wages have stagnated for decades. The annual growth rate of the economy was just 1.2 percent from April to June, far below what economists had expected.
“We need much, much faster growth if we’re going to have wages rising and salaries rising and middle-class incomes rising,” he said. “How do we get back to a healthy rate of economic growth which we haven’t had in a decade?”
Trump will also revisit his opposition to current trade deals, including his plan to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, and vow to improve intellectual property protections.
Trump is also expected to spend much of the speech contrasting his approach with that of Clinton, whom his campaign accuses of pushing the same “stale, big government policy prescriptions that have choked economic growth in America and led to over 40 years of wage stagnation.”
Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort said Sunday on Fox News Channel that with the speech, “we’re comfortable that we can get the agenda and the narrative of the campaign back on where it belongs, which is comparing the tepid economy under Obama and Clinton, versus the kind of growth economy that Mr. Trump wants to build.”
Clinton has proposed raising taxes on the highest-income earners, including a surcharge on multimillionaires, but analysts have found lower-income earners would see little change beyond measures such as additional tax credits for expenses like out-of-pocket health care costs.
This won’t be the first time Trump lays out his economic vision. He first unveiled his tax plan last fall, framing it as a boon to the middle class. “It’s going to cost me a fortune,” the billionaire businessman told reporters as he vowed to lower taxes across the board without exploding the deficit.
But a host of independent groups crunching the numbers soon concluded otherwise. The plan, they said, dramatically favored the wealthy over the middle class and would increase the debt by as much as $10 trillion over the next decade.
Trump had promised at the time that he would make up for lost revenue by closing a slew of loopholes. But like so many of his plans, he declined to provide specifics. And a companion plan on reducing government spending, which he had promised would follow, never came.
Moore said that, while Trump still favors the plan he unveiled in September, his team has added new details and made changes “that will significantly reduce the cost of the plan.”
Jill Colvin reported from New Jersey.
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