Trump hones in on US economy to bolster struggling campaign for votes

By Matthew Rusling Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/9 22:28:39

Amid tumbling polling numbers, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday zeroed in on the US economy in a bid to convince voters that he can bring the lackluster economy back to life.

In a televised speech made in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, Trump said he would focus on tax cuts, job growth and deregulation in a bid to force the government to step aside and unleash the power of the US economy.

While the US economy has improved since the 2007-08 economic nosedive that sent the global economy reeling, millions of Americans continue to struggle.

While the official jobless rate is low, that figure does not paint a full and accurate picture of the job market's health as it does not count the millions of Americans who have given up looking for work out of sheer frustration, and often those who have only worked a few hours in a week and earned a few dollars are counted as having a job.

Trump said his opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, is planning a "massive job killing" tax increase, adding that Clinton would increase tax hikes for small businesses.

Trump said he would reduce business taxes, vowing no US business would pay more than 15 percent in taxes, sharply down from the around 35 percent that businesses now pay.

His plan will allow parents to cut the cost of child care by deducting it from their taxes, he said, adding that he would do away the so-called "death tax" - a tax on the assets of Americans after their deaths.

But this policy will benefit the working class very little, while giving a financial boost to wealthy people like Trump himself, analysts said.

Trump said he would de-regulate industries such as the US auto industry, adding that the Obama administration has put in place thousands of new regulations that have been a "massive weight" on the US economy.

"This will give our American companies the certainty they need," he said.

Experts said the brash reality TV star from New York, who claims to be a billionaire but refuses, unlike other presidential candidates, to release his tax returns, needs to come up with a concrete plan to persuade voters to cast their ballot for him in the election, amid the recent controversy about his remarks on a Muslim couple whose son died in service in Iraq. Trump is trailing behind Clinton by 10 points in latest polls.

"He needs to provide a credible plan to help those who have been left behind in the economy. His voter base are people who have lost jobs," Darrell West, vice president and director of governance studies of the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua in an interview.

"He has to explain to them in something other than platitudes that he understands their situation and can do something about it," West said.

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Xinhua that Trump needs to convince more Americans than his supporters that he is drawing on some serious talent, and he understands he needs counsel and strategy and needs to be steady as a leader.

In order to discredit Clinton on the economy, Trump needs to keep coming back to the underlying weaknesses of the economy that has been a big issue in the primaries of both parties and a big factor in his success.

Trump has a disadvantage here because in many ways such as unemployment rates, gas prices, the economy is doing better now than it has in years, Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua.

With just three months left until the elections, Trump will need to start reaching out to independents and those in better financial positions than those who've been left behind, the experts said.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency. The article first appeared on Xinhua.

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