'Trumponomics' moves candidate concerns to new arena

Share This

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump rolled out his economic plan in an Aug. 8 Detroit speech, adding economics to the growing number of arenas where many openly question whether the nation could afford a Trump White House.

Long on budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy with no clear way to pay for it, Trump's plan would cost nearly $12 trillion in revenues over 10 years, both liberal and conservative economists estimate. Mark Zandi and a team of economists at Moody's Analytics warn that the plan, if executed, would trigger a long recession, spark huge job losses, usher in skyrocketing interest rates and dampen prospects for long-term growth.

Economists of all stripes are warning that the plan is riddled with vague language. However, Zandi's team analyzed earlier iterations of "Trumponomics" and found the benefits skew hard—to people like Donald Trump. "More than one-third of the proposed tax cuts on personal income will go to the top 1 percent of income earners, with the average taxpayer in this group receiving a reduction in their tax bill of $275,000," notes Moody's

Nevertheless, Trump used the Detroit address to frame his ideas as a plan for working Americans. "No one will gain more from these proposals than low- and middle-income Americans," he told the crowd, offering as evidence a proposal to allow "parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their tax." The vague reference left many openly skeptical that it would aid families hit hard by the costs of child care.

The proposal "won't help the bottom 44 percent of families that pay no income taxes," observes Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute.

"Trump has identified a real challenge affecting working families, but his proposal would do little or nothing to help them," concludes Elaine Maag of the Tax Policy Center.

[Staff and media reports]