- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2016

Insisting something must be done to shake the economy out of an eight-year doldrums, Donald Trump called for canceling bad trade deals, said he’ll ban job-killing government regulations and rewrote his tax plan to try to make it a more serious effort to grapple with a broken federal budget.

Still light on the details — which Mr. Trump promised will follow in the next weeks — the plan was an effort to reset the narrative after a rough start to the general election.

The billionaire businessman touched on many Republican refrains, including promising to eliminate the estate tax, to institute a new child care tax credit, to slash corporate taxes and to cut the top individual income tax rate from nearly 40 percent to 33 percent.

“These reforms will offer the biggest tax revolution since the Reagan Tax Reform, which unleashed years of continued economic growth and job creation,” Mr. Trump said at the Detroit Economic Club.

Speaking from prepared remarks — a tactic he has used when he delivers major policy statements — Mr. Trump said the economy cannot withstand four years under Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after eight years of slow recovery under President Obama.

Mr. Trump said Mrs. Clinton is “bought, controlled and paid for by her donors and special interests,” which means she will sign on to bad trade deals that cede U.S. jobs, and will pursue environmental policies that stifle American energy development and amount to a “war on the American worker.”

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“She is the candidate of the past; ours is the campaign of the future,” Mr. Trump said. “All Mrs. Clinton has to offer is more of the same — more taxes, more regulations, more bureaucrats, more restrictions on American energy and on American production.”

The Clinton campaign countered that the New York billionaire is the one who is offering recycled ideas.

“His tax-cut plans will give superbig tax breaks to large corporations and the really wealthy, just like him and the guys who wrote his speech,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Mr. Trump gave only outlines of his plans and goals Monday, leaving the details for later.

Among those targets is slimming the tax code from seven brackets to three: a 15 percent tax, a 25 percent tax and a 33 percent tax. He said he borrowed those rates from House Republicans’ tax plans — a signal to GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he’s willing to look to them for ideas.

He also proposed a new child care tax deduction, which is estimated to cost about $50 billion per year, and to reduce the corporate income tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent.

The lost revenue would be made up by eliminating tax breaks elsewhere in the code, he said — though he didn’t list them, and in the past, when asked about specifics, has been unable to find many breaks he would cut.

Kyle E. Pomerleau, of the Tax Foundation, said Mr. Trump will need to flesh out the details of his plan before the fiscal impact can be determined.

“We still don’t see many base broadeners that would end up making the numbers work,” Mr. Pomerleau said. “While he has scaled back the size of the tax cut, many are still concerned about the plan’s impact on federal revenues.”

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said Mr. Trump’s plan is better than what he offered during the Republican primary race, but she said the corporate tax cut alone would still leave a $2.5 trillion hole in the budget over 10 years.

“We urge Donald Trump to put forward a tax framework that will cost as little as possible — or preferably generate net revenue — along with a serious suite of new spending cuts and entitlement reforms that would not only pay for any remaining tax cuts but also put the national debt on a downward path relative to the economy,” Mrs. MacGuineas said.

Mr. Trump delivered his speech in Michigan — a state he has vowed to put back in play for Republicans, though he appears to be slipping in polling there.

A Detroit Free Press-WXYZ-TV poll released last week showed that Mrs. Clinton holds a 43 percent to 32 percent lead over Mr. Trump in Michigan in a four-way race that includes Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein.

Mr. Trump warned Michigan voters to be wary of Mrs. Clinton on trade.

He said she owes Detroit an apology for her husband’s approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which coincided with a huge decline in autoworkers’ jobs in Michigan. He also said the looming Trans-Pacific Partnership will be “an even bigger disaster for the auto industry.”

Mrs. Clinton helped push the TPP as State Department secretary, but during this campaign, under pressure from the political left, has said she would not accept it.

Mr. Trump said he’ll scrap the TPP and demand to renegotiate NAFTA, and if he doesn’t get a better deal, he’ll walk.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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