In Michigan speech, Trump vows tax cuts to ‘jumpstart’ US

Posted at 1:06 PM, Aug 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 19:31:57-04

DETROIT (CNN) — Donald Trump sought to get his stumbling campaign back on track Monday, unveiling a tax reform plan aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan's policy agenda.

Trump's new proposal would reduce tax rates for most Americans and simplify the tax code, but the new rates Trump proposed mark an increase from those he proposed last year as he campaigned for the Republican nomination and touted his tax reform plan as offering the lowest income tax rates of any of his GOP opponents.

>> MORE: AP fact checks Trumps economic claims

Trump's new proposal would more than halve the number of income tax brackets and bring rates down to 12%, 25% and 33%. Trump proposed drastically reducing federal income tax rates to 10%, 20% and 25% -- a proposal that nonpartisan groups assessed would add trillions of dollars to the national debt.

Americans in the top income bracket are currently taxed at 39.6%. Trump also vowed again Monday that the poorest Americans will have a zero tax rate, which he included in his initial proposal.

The Republican nominee, who was interrupted by protestors 14 times, unveiled his plan a week after he feuded with Ryan, initially refusing to endorse him as he faces a primary challenge Tuesday. He ultimately backed Ryan on Friday after a tumultuous week of intra-party fighting.

Speaking at the Detroit Economic Club Monday, Trump laid out proposals to achieve an American "economic renewal," including a moratorium on government regulations, a proposal to make childcare expenses fully tax deductible, and other proposals his campaign argued will benefit the middle class.

"It's a conversation about how to make America great again for everyone and, especially, and I say especially, for those who have the very least," Trump said.

Trump's speech, in which he offered detailed policy proposals rarely heard in his typical stump speech, came as the Republican is facing steeply declining poll numbers following two bad weeks on the campaign trail during which he repeatedly stoked controversies that distracted from his core campaign message.

But Trump on Monday, reading from Telemprompters, was laser-focused on promoting his economic agenda and contrasting his plans with Hillary Clinton's. The Democratic nominee is also set to lay out her own economic proposals in Detroit in a major address on Thursday.

A senior adviser to Clinton said she won't wait until Thursday to respond to Trump. The adviser said her speeches in Florida later Monday will offer a sharp rebuttal to Trump's economic address in Detroit. She will not let the charges go unanswered, the adviser said, and will correct the record on trade, economy and Detroit's renewed booming auto industry.

He pointed to Detroit, a city lately besieged by economic turmoil and run for decades by successive Democratic mayors, as the "living, breathing example of my opponent's failed economic agenda."

Trump also reiterated the slogans and ideas that have been central to his campaign, calling Detroit's economic collapse an example of politicians abandoning "America first" policies in favor of a globalist agenda.

"If you are a foreign power looking to weaken America, you couldn't do better than Hillary Clinton's economic agenda," Trump said.

But Trump went beyond bomb-throwing, laying out in detail a number of proposals he would seek to enact as president that would reduce the regulatory influence of the federal government, particularly on fossil fuel industries.

He also again vowed to lower the business tax rate for corporations and small businesses alike to 15% -- down from the current top rate of 39%.

"We will make America grow again," Trump said.

Trump also said he would look to restart the Keystone XL pipeline project and withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

Trump also again vowed to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was enacted by President Bill Clinton.

"This is where we need to drill down and keep talking about over and over again," former Rep. Jack Kingston, a Trump adviser, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Monday.

"You know 67% of the people recently polled said they do not like the track that America's on, they're uncomfortable, and he's speaking to them and he's taking responsibility and he says, 'I'm going to be a jobs president, I'm going to reduce regulations on small businesses and I'm going to cut their taxes, I'm going to allow America to grow'," he added. "We do not need a third term of Obamanomics."

Clinton has been pulling away from Trump in recent polling, following his disastrous battle with the Gold Star parents of slain Iraq War veteran Capt. Humayun Khan. The latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Clinton beating Trump 49%-39% nationwide.

But a CNN poll in June and a more recent Fox News survey found that voters trust Trump more than Clinton on the economy.

The Clinton campaign fired off a blast against the Trump plan Monday morning before his speech, arguing that it was rooted in big tax breaks for corporations and businesses and would likely lead to a recession.

"A Trump presidency would cause damage to the American economy and working families," Clinton's economic advisers argue in the memo.

Clinton running mate Tim Kaine tweeted Monday, "Donald Trump is only in it for himself -- just look at his economic plan."

The Clinton campaign also repeated many of the same blasts against Trump it has used before -- arguing that he cheered the housing crisis and would allow the U.S. to default on its debts. The Clinton camp noted Trump doesn't support debt-free college, paid family leave or a federal minimum wage -- all backed by Clinton.

CNN's Dan Merica and Naomi Lim contributed to this report.