WASHINGTON: Republican Donald Trump said Monday he would slash taxes, block onerous financial regulations and unleash the energy sector as he pledged to “jump-start America” with a new economic plan if he is elected president.
The brash billionaire unveiled his proposals in a speech in economically depressed Detroit as he resets his campaign and focuses on policies that draw a sharp contrast with Hillary Clinton.
“We are in a competition with the world, and I want America to win,” Trump told the Detroit Economic Club, as he highlighted “disastrous” policies that he said have snuffed out US jobs in the nearly eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
“I want to jump-start America. It can be done, and it won’t even be that hard,” he said.
Trump laid out a series of policies to revitalize a limping economic engine, including a sharp reduction of corporate tax from 35 percent to 15 percent, something he floated back in September as a way to lure back US corporations that relocated abroad.
He would also set a 10 percent tax on the “trillions of dollars from American businesses that is now parked overseas” and gets repatriated into the United States.
Personal taxes would drop too, with the top rate at 33 percent, compared with 39.6 percent today.
Trump said he wants to “cut regulations massively,” a move he said would lift the “anchor” weighing down small businesses, something Republicans have sought for years during Obama’s tenure.
The 70-year-old real estate mogul also proposed repealing the estate tax, the controversial levy on the estates of the deceased valued at above $5.45 million.
“American workers have paid taxes their whole lives, and they should not be taxed again at death — it’s just plain wrong,” Trump said.
The speech was interrupted more than a dozen times by protesters, who were escorted out by security.
Trickle down economics?
As he pivots away from recent controversy about his campaign, Trump portrayed Clinton as the “nominee from yesterday.”
“There will be no change under Hillary Clinton — only four more years of Obama,” he warned. “But we are going to look boldly into the future.”
Clinton, he said, offers more of the same: “more taxes, more regulations, more bureaucrats, more restrictions on American energy.”
Republican Senator David Purdue praised Trump’s plan as “a bold vision” from “an outsider and businessman who is listening to the American people.”
But Clinton, a 68-year-old former secretary of state and senator, has enjoyed a strong bounce in polls since officially becoming the Democratic nominee last month, the first time a woman has become the flagbearer of a major US party.
A Monmouth University Poll released Monday shows Clinton ahead of Trump by double digits, 46 percent to 34 percent a dramatic increase from the three-point lead she held days before the Republican convention.
Clinton used her rally in St. Petersburg, Florida as an opportunity to savage Trump’s economic plan rollout as his effort to “repackage trickle down economics.”
“His tax plans will give super big tax breaks to large corporations and the really wealthy,” she said.
“I am not going to raise taxes on the middle class, but with your help we are going to raise it on the wealthy, because that’s where the money is!”
She cited a study by Mark Zandi, a former economic advisor to Republican Senator John McCain, which predicted that under Trump’s plan, the economy would shed 3.4 million jobs and tumble into recession.
“Economists left, right, in the middle all say the same things, that Trump’s policies would throw us into a recession,” she said.
Clinton has spent several days attacking Trump on the economy.
She has also ventured into America’s so-called “Rust Belt” seeking to win over white working-class voters in areas that have suffered factory closures.
The nation’s unemployment rate stood at 4.9 percent in July, a substantial decline from the peak of about 10 percent in October 2009 after a major recession, according to federal statistics.
But Trump insisted the economy was lagging badly and that letting an insider like Clinton guide the economic ship would only exacerbate the problem.
“We can’t fix a rigged system by relying on the people who rigged it in the first place,” Trump warned.
“A Trump administration will end this war on the American worker,” he said, noting in particular that Obama’s “anti-energy regulations” have destroyed millions of jobs.
Trump’s plan to revitalize the energy industry, including coal, would “open a new chapter in American prosperity,” he said.
He renewed his opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact backed by the Obama administration, insisting Washington will withdraw from the deal.
“Americanism, not globalism, will be our new credo,” he said.