Donald Trump on Monday sought to cast Hillary Clinton’s economic program as an ineffective relic, and to reset his own presidential campaign after a string of missteps.
“We now begin a great national conversation about economic renewal for America,” Trump said in a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, urging a return to his “America-first” governing vision.
“The city of Detroit is the living, breathing example of my opponent’s failed economic agenda,” Trump said.
In prepared remarks released by Trump’s campaign as he spoke, the nominee proposed a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations. He also proposed making U.S. families’ child-care costs tax-deductible, which his daughter Ivanka promised last month in a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention.
Protesters repeatedly interrupted Trump, who acknowledged them more calmly than he sometimes has at campaign rallies. “This is all very well planned out,” he said.
One key change from Trump’s earlier proposals is that he would set a new top individual income-tax rate of 33 percent. While that rate is higher than the 25 percent rate Trump had initially proposed, it still represents a cut from the current top rate of 39.6 percent.
That tweak will reduce the estimated cost of Trump’s tax plan-which some analysts had set at roughly $10 trillion over 10 years. But the child-care proposal-which Trump in prepared remarks said would allow “parents to fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending”-also represented a new cost. That measure’s price tag would be roughly $20 billion a year, said economist Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser.
“It’s not a big cost,” Moore said.
Trump’s tax plan would slash the tax rate on corporate and business income to 15 percent, down from a current top corporate tax rate of 35 percent. It would also consolidate the current seven individual income tax rates to three, with the lower two brackets set at 25 percent and 12 percent.
A news release from Trump’s campaign said he wanted to ensure that the wealthy pay their “fair share,” using language that is more commonly heard from Democrats. But his proposals to cut individual tax rates and the tax rate on income from partnerships-along with eliminating the estate tax-mean the wealthy would pay less under his plan, said Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the conservative Tax Foundation.
“His rhetoric is not lining up with his proposals,” Pomerleau said.
Trump reiterated his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and his desire to renegotiate NAFTA, “or walk away if we have to,” according to his campaign’s news release. He also seeks to reverse much of the Obama administration’s climate-change and energy agenda by defending the coal industry, rescinding environmental rules, and asking TransCanada to renew its Keystone pipeline permit application if he’s elected.
After Trump said Aug. 2 he would double Clinton’s infrastructure spending plan in a major government expansion, aides said he will speak later this summer about his plan for the nation’s roadways.
Trump’s daughter’s acknowledgement of soaring child-care costs, an issue of growing importance in U.S. politics, won plaudits as Trump lags Clinton badly in polls of female voters.
Child-care bills have proven to outpace rent and tuition costs in most states, often threatening to derail parents’ housing and job plans. The nation is the third-most expensive for childcare among 34 countries, according to 2012 data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Trump’s speech follows his announcement last week of an unorthodox economic advisory council that includes financiers John Paulson, Andy Beal, and Stephen Feinberg, as well as energy executive Harold Hamm. Trump also announced raising $80 million for his campaign and party entities in July.
Unveiling the council and the better-than-expected fundraising results, and giving the Detroit speech major billing, were moves by the Trump campaign to steady its course after the Democratic National Convention, where the Muslim parents of a slain U.S. soldier spoke out against Trump and drew the Republican nominee into a multi-day feud on Twitter and TV airwaves.
Between that and other controversies-including Trump’s initial refusal to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan for re-election-Trump has seen his poll numbers slumped and has worried Republicans who are eager to save their majorities in Congress in November’s elections.