Hillary Clinton slams 'Trump loophole' in pitch to working-class voters

Clinton made the case that her economic plan would help middle-class families, while Trump's economic agenda would only favor himself and his billionaire friends at the expense of everyone else.
August 11, 2016, 7:05pm
Photo by Cristobal Herrera/EPA

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton laid out an ambitious economic plan on Thursday as a direct alternative to Trump's and made the case that she would help middle class families and working people, while her opponent would favor the ultra-rich at the expense of everyone else.

Clinton expanded on many of the same ideas of her campaign, including making public college tuition free for middle class families, forcing large corporations to pay a bigger share in taxes and penalize the ones who move jobs overseas, and encouraging companies to share profits with their workers.

She said that her economic plan would create 10 million new jobs, while Trump's would force the economy back into recession. As president, Clinton vowed to make the "largest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II," referencing her promise to invest $275 billion in infrastructure across the country.

But none of the proposals Clinton discussed in her speech were new. Her speech was a rebuttal to Trump's and a direct appeal to Democrats, independents and the growing number of Republicans who have been turned off by Trump's scorched-earth campaign in recent weeks.

Clinton spoke in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, where Trump had given his own economic speech just three days earlier. In his own speech Trump promised to bring back jobs to Americans, slash taxes, and drastically reconfigure international free trade agreements.

Warren is a former manufacturing town, made up of the working class white population that makes up a large part of Trump's base. Clinton made a direct appeal to that very crowd on Thursday, relying on the themes of hope and optimism as an explicit contrast to Trump's message of doom and gloom he delivered earlier in the week.

"When Donald Trump visited Detroit on Monday, he talked only of failure, poverty, and crime," Clinton said. "He's missing so much."

Clinton relished the opportunity to respond to Trump in the arena where she is most comfortable — policy. She slammed Trump's plan, which she called "trickle-down economics" that would only help millionaires like Trump and his friends by cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthiest citizens. She also criticized his business practices by pointing out that "he's made a career of stiffing small businesses from Atlantic City to Las Vegas."

In short, Trump "hasn't offered any credible solutions for the very real economic challenges we face," Clinton went on.

Clinton also attacked Trump for one of his proposals she termed the "Trump loophole," which would allow wealthy citizens and corporations to pay less than half the current tax rate on their income.

Both Trump and Clinton's former opponent, Bernie Sanders, have railed against free trade throughout this election. Clinton addressed the issue of trade head on, acknowledging that "American workers and communities have paid the price" for unfair trade deals.

"But the answer is not to rant and rave — or to cut ourselves off from the world," Clinton said. She vowed to stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, something she used to support before flipping her position under pressure from the Sanders- wing of her party.

Clinton's speech came on the same day that her campaign announced she would release her taxes from last year, along with her running mate's Tim Kaine's last 10 years of returns. The move was aimed to pressure Trump to release his taxes, something he has repeatedly refused to do.

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @OliviaLBecker