- The Washington Times
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Donald Trump promised to usher in a new era of economic prosperity, saying Thursday that his plans for tax cuts and new trade deals could pave the way for 4 percent annual growth and 25 million new jobs over the next decade.

Combined with an overhaul of the nation’s energy and regulatory policies, Mr. Trump said he plans to spur levels of economic growth the nation has not experienced since President Bill Clinton’s final year in office.

The GOP presidential nominee said that kind of growth would be enough to cover the costs of his agenda, which includes a series of new spending proposals and lost revenue.

“We are a nation that tamed the West, dug out the Panama Canal, won two World Wars and put a man on the Moon,” Mr. Trump said at the Economic Club of New York. “It is time to start thinking big once again.”

He said his goal was 4 percent growth, but his current plans will get at least 3.5 percent.

He said his proposals to cut individual and corporate taxes, which he laid out last month, carry a $4.4 trillion price tag.

Much of that lost revenue to the government would be recouped by a stronger economy, he said.

He said the rest of the money could be made up through a deeper cut in non-defense discretionary spending — likely a non-starter among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Trump said he would leave entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security untouched.

And he again promised to cap tax deductions and close “special interest loopholes” for the wealthy — though he has not said what they would be.

Lanhee Chen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institute who served as a top adviser to Republican nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, said Mr. Trump’s call for tax cuts and cutting regulatory red tape appeals to supply-side economists, but said the GOP nominee has “a gaping hole” in his plans because he doesn’t address ballooning costs of Social Security or Medicare.

“I think it is tough for economic conservatives to fully be behind what they proposed,” Mr. Chen said.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Center for a Republican Federal Budget, said Mr. Trump’s updated plan is better than what he has offered in the past, but said it still relies on “on rosy assumptions and murky policy changes, and it still wouldn’t address the unsustainable growth in our national debt.”

“To make his math add up, Trump assumes annual economic growth of 3.5 percent,” Ms. MacGuineas said.

“That’s 75 percent higher than what’s currently projected, and it’s unlikely to materialize in the context of an aging population — particularly if we continue to add to the post-war record high debt levels that are already holding back economic growth,” she said

Mr. Trump has previously called for a $500 billion infrastructure spending program, and said the money should be tacked onto the debt, saying the government should take advantage of low interest rates.

It was unclear whether his economic plan accounted for those costs.

But the billionaire businessman says those policies are needed to help boost the American workforce, which is still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession.

The nation’s 62.8 percent labor force participation rate is as low as it has been since the late 1970s.

Mr. Trump said he will turn things around, including setting a goal of 25 million new jobs.

The 70-year-old blamed President Obama and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, for stifling the economy and making it harder for young men and minorities to land a good job.

“Not one single idea she’s got will create one net American job, will create one new dollar of American wealth for our workers,” he said. “The only thing she can offer is a welfare check — that is about it.”

Democrats countered that Mr. Trump’s tax cut plans would benefit the wealthy more than the poor.

“People have to decide: Are we going to make our economy work for everyone or just those at the top? Are we going to bring people together or pit Americans against each other and rip our country apart?” Mrs. Clinton said as she campaigned in North Carolina.

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

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