The theme for this week’s 2016 presidential campaign was “show me the money!” as both the Clinton and Trump campaigns unveiled their economic plans for America and tried to convince people why they should be allowed to control the government’s purse strings. And since any excuse to attack Trump is a good excuse, Clinton and VP Tim Kaine went one step further and also released their tax returns this week, insisting that Trump was hiding something by refusing to release his own. Trump said “taxes are complicated m’kay?” and then tried to distract everyone by going off message, threatening Clinton and saying that President Obama literally founded ISIS. Mission accomplished.
But in case you were wondering what you may have missed in the kerfuffle, here it is: Clinton’s plan is by no means comprehensive or perfect but it’s wide ranging, largely affordable and more detailed, and thus more accountable, than her counterpart’s. Most of Clinton’s proposals are nothing new: down with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (that Obama has made a top priority before he leaves office), a massive infrastructure project to create heaps of jobs, tax increases on the wealthy (because greed isn’t good after all, plus someone needs to pay for all the government’s spending), simplifying taxes and red tape for small businesses, debt-free college tuition and more Wall Street regulation (because there are lots of Bernie or Bust voters still out there), raising the minimum wage, better Obamacare and generally bigger government – so something for everybody. Bottom line: Clinton says she’s for the little guy but her tax return says she’s rolling in the deep. Not so little.
Unfortunately for Trump his “any press is good press” strategy doesn’t apply this week, and his big economic plan failed to halt the downward momentum of his struggling campaign. It doesn’t help that economic experts keep saying his “trickle up” economic plan will give more tax cuts to the richest Americans (ahem, like himself) and ignore the middle and working classes. His plan includes: end the death tax (affects less than 1% of people), simplify the tax rates, make child care tax deductible (again, helps higher-income families more), lower the corporate tax rate, suspend government regulations, stop trade and somehow bring jobs back from overseas – ideas which range from okay to pointless to ridiculous and destructive. And there are some glaring holes in his plan: like how to pay for all of his spending while cutting taxes, how to address the country’s debt beyond “we will make the economy great again”, or how he will cancel all “bad” trade agreements without making overseas goods more expensive or causing a trade war that could result in another global recession. Bottom line: shaping an economic agenda around Trump’s most popular populist ideas was never going to be a winning strategy.
Feel like all politicians are just fraudsters? Got nothing on Frank. Movie for your mood: Catch Me If You Can