Hours before Donald Trump unveils his economic package of tax cuts and aid for families, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton's opposition research team is emptying its file on the Republican in a bid to portray his plans as dangerous for the economy.
"A Trump presidency would cause damage to the U.S. economy and working families," headlines a long memo from the Clinton camp and sent out Monday morning. "Trump's policies would throw us back into recession," he adds.
Trump is planning to unveil his economic agenda in Detroit today. Clinton is doing the same in Detroit later this week.
Polls show Trump losing ground to Clinton on the question of who would be a better economic president, so his effort is winning greater focus in the media, and among supporters and detractors like Clinton's team.
Their memo cites years of comments and business decisions from Trump that are meant to undercut his image as a smart businessman.
"Here at Hillary for America, we've said it at least a few times before, but in advance of Donald Trump's speech in Detroit today we wanted to offer a look at how a Trump presidency would cause damage to the American economy and working families. We can be certain of this because we've read Trump's 'plans,' listened to his words, reviewed what analysts have to say about what he wants to do, and it's the only logical conclusion," said the memo shown in full below:
To: Interested Parties
From: Jake Sullivan, Maya Harris, Jacob Leibenluft, HFA Policy Team
Re: How a Trump Presidency Would Cause Damage to the U.S. Economy and Working Families
Date: Monday, August 8, 2016
Here at Hillary for America, we've said it at least a few times before, but in advance of Donald Trump's speech in Detroit today we wanted to offer a look at how a Trump presidency would cause damage to the American economy and working families. We can be certain of this because we've read Trump's "plans," listened to his words, reviewed what analysts have to say about what he wants to do, and it's the only logical conclusion.
The Short Version: Why a Trump Presidency Would Endanger the U.S. Economy
Tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations
Rolling back reforms that help protect Main Street from Wall Street
An agenda that experts across the political spectrum say would lead to a recession and cost millions of American jobs
Over a year of campaigning with no plans to date for helping working families
No paid family leave
No federal minimum wage
Disastrous business record of multiple bankruptcies, stiffing contractors, outsourcing, and scamming Americans
The Long Version: Everything You Need to Know About Why a Trump Presidency Would Be a Disaster for the U.S. Economy, Literally
Trump's Core Plan: Tax Breaks for the Wealthy
The core of Donald Trump's economic plan involves reckless tax cuts that will add trillions to the debt to benefit the wealthy, Wall Street, and big corporations. His plan would give millionaires a $7 trillion tax cut and big corporations a $5 trillion tax cut.
$7 trillion tax cut for millionaires: Trump's plan would give $7 trillion in tax breaks to millionaires over 20 years.
$5 trillion tax cut for corporations: Trump's tax plan slashes corporate tax rates, cutting taxes for corporations by more than $5 trillion over 20 years.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Millionaires Would Gain Trillions Under Trump and Cruz Tax Plans
Tax Policy Center: An Analysis of Donald Trump's Tax Plan
The Briefing: The Trump Tax Plan – By the Billionaire, For the Billionaires
Trump called his tax plan "tremendous" – but its impact would be to widen inequality by giving more in tax cuts to the top 0.1% than to the bottom 60% combined.
Fox Business: Trump Talks Plan for 'Tremendous' Tax Decreases
Tax Policy Center: The highest-income 1.0 percent would get an average tax cut of over $275,000 (17.5 percent of after-tax income), and the top 0.1 percent would get an average tax cut worth over $1.3 million, nearly 19 percent of after-tax income. By contrast, the lowest-income households would receive an average tax cut of $128, or 1 percent of after-tax income.
PolitiFact: Top 0.1% would be big winner under Donald Trump's tax plan - TRUE
Before he released his plan, Trump said that the "hedge fund guys are getting away with murder." But instead of raising rates on Wall Street, by lowering business tax rates to 15%, including for partnerships like hedge funds and private equity firms, Trump's plan actually cuts tax rates on Wall Street money managers by one-third and widens the "carried interest" loophole.
TRUMP: "Hedge fund guys are getting away with murder."
TRUMP: "The hedge fund guys won't like me as much as they like me right now. I know them all, but they'll pay more."
1/3 tax cut for hedge funds and Wall Street money managers: Trump's tax plan slashes tax rates on hedge funds and Wall Street money managers by one-third.
CNN Money: The Donald Trump Hedge Fund Crackdown That Wasn't
Roosevelt Institute: Trump's Tax Plan Isn't Tough On Wall Street Or Carried Interest After All
Bloomberg: Trump's Tough Talk On Hedge-Fund Taxes Doesn't Match His Plan
PolitiFact: Donald Trump's proposed tax treatment of hedge fund managers "makes the current loophole even worse." - TRUE
The tax plan of the self-proclaimed "King of Debt" would add more than $30 trillion to the debt over 20 years.
TRUMP: I am the king of debt.
$34 trillion added to the national debt by 2036: Trump's plan to hand trillions in tax breaks to millionaires will add $34 trillion to the debt over 20 years, according to the independent Tax Policy Center.
When asked whether the United States needed to pay its debts, he threatened to default and therefore throw the world into a financial crisis, saying "if the economy crashed, you could make a deal" – or print more money.
TRUMP: "I would borrow knowing that if the economy crashed you could make a deal. And if the economy was good it was good so therefore you can't lose. It's like, you know, you make a deal before you go into a poker game, and your odds are so much better."
Vox: Donald Trump Just Threatened To Cause An Unprecedented Global Financial Crisis
TRUMP: "You never have to default because you print the money."
Unsurprisingly, experts from across the political spectrum were not impressed.
Michael Strain, economics fellow at American Enterprise Institute: When asked about Trump's suggestion to default on the debt: "There are no merits to it. The extent to which U.S. Treasurys are kind of the foundation on which the global financial system is built is really hard to overstate."
Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Obama: Called Donald Trump's idea of not fully repaying investors in U.S. Treasuries "borderline insane"
Rolling Back Reforms that Help Protect Main Street from Wall Street
Donald Trump actually rooted for a housing crisis, because he claimed that he'd be able to make money off of a crisis that ultimately cost 9 million workers their jobs and more than 5 million families their homes.
TRUMP: "I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy"
NBC News: Trump in 2007: 'I'm Excited' for Housing Market Crash
Two days after Lehman Brothers failed and the economy was starting to crater, he went on TV and said he hoped there wouldn't be more regulation on the big banks, because there was already too much.
LARRY KING: "Do we need more regulation?"
TRUMP: "I would hope not, Larry. There's so much regulations. If you look at Sarbanes-Oxley, I know companies that don't move because of Sarbanes-Oxley. They can't get out of their own way. And you go to other companies and they don't have the regulation. And we're in a tremendous disadvantage in this country. You go to other countries and there isn't that same regulation."
So it is no surprise that the core of Trump's plan for Wall Street remains rolling back the reforms put in place after the crisis to ensure that Wall Street never wrecks main street again – reforms that end taxpayer bailouts of big banks, created a new consumer watchdog, and put in place new rules for derivatives.
TRUMP: On repealing Dodd-Frank, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "absolutely."
TRUMP: "Dodd-Frank has made it impossible for bankers to function…[My plan] will be close to dismantling of Dodd-Frank."
As noted above, he even promised to close the carried interest loophole, but his tax plan slashes rates for Wall Street money managers by a third.
1/3 tax cut for hedge funds and Wall Street money managers: Trump's tax plan slashes tax rates on hedge funds and Wall Street money managers by one-third.
In over a year of campaigning, no real plans to date to help working families.
For more than a year now, Donald Trump's only big idea for infrastructure has been his fantasy of a border wall that he insists Mexico will pay for.
"Positions" listed on Donald Trump's website:
Pay for the Wall
U.S.-China Trade Reform
Veterans Administration Reforms
Second Amendment Rights
CNN: 'No way' Mexico will pay for wall, its leader says
On issue after issue, Donald Trump has campaigned for over a year without presenting any real plans to help working families make ends meet – for example, with no plan for college affordability.
Trump campaign Co-Chair Sam Clovis: When asked whether Trump would have a plan to ensure debt-free college: "Unequivocally no… It's absurd on the surface."
Trump has said that "wages are too high," he has expressed his opposition to a federal minimum wage, and he has repeatedly stated his desire to leave the minimum wage up to the states.
The Week: Donald Trump kicks off GOP debate by saying American wages are "too high."
TRUMP: "Our wages are too high."
TRUMP: "I think having a low minimum wage is not a bad thing for this country."
TRUMP: When asked whether the federal minimum wage should be eliminated, said he likes: "the idea of the states determining the minimum wage."
PolitiFact: Hillary Clinton: Donald Trump wants to get rid of the federal minimum wage - TRUE
PolitiFact: Trump has also said that the minimum wage should be left up to the states in at least four other TV and radio interviews.
TRUMP: "I like letting the states set the minimum wage."
TRUMP: "On the minimum wage, I would like to leave it to the states because frankly, every state is different."
Despite claiming he "would be the best for women," Trump's record demonstrates the exact opposite. For women in the workplace, Trump opposes paid family leave - saying we "have to be careful of it," and he's called pregnancy an "inconvenience" for employers.
STUART VARNEY: "I'm going to start with a – fast response if you would: paid family leave."
TRUMP: "Well, it's something that's being discussed. I think we have to keep our country very competitive, so, you have to be careful of it."
TRUMP: "Well you know, pregnancy…it's certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business."
He's blamed women for the wage gap, saying that if women want equal pay they should just "do as good a job" as men – as if they aren't already. He also said "putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing."
QUESTION: "So if you become president will a woman make the same as a man and will I get to choose what I do with my body?"
TRUMP: "You're going to make the same if you do as good a job. And I happen to be pro-life. OK? I'm pro-life."
TRUMP: "I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing"
Given his past comments, it's no wonder his campaign pays women less than men, though Trump himself attributes differences in earnings to varying levels of "talent."
Boston Globe: Donald Trump has paid men on his campaign staff one-third more than women, while Hillary Clinton has compensated men and women equally, according to a Globe analysis of payroll data for both campaigns.
O'REILLY: "So, you pay salaries based on your perception of ability."
TRUMP: "I pay on talent. I pay on ability, I do. I pay on ability
Trump would roll back the Affordable Care Act's protections and let insurance companies write the rules all over again. He wants to end Obamacare but has no credible plan to replace it or help keep costs down. In fact, his plan would cause almost 21 million people to lose their health insurance.
DonaldJTrump.com: On day one of the Trump Administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.
TRUMP: "Repeal and replace with something terrific."
Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget: Trump's health care plan "would nearly double the number of uninsured, causing almost 21 million people to lose coverage."
Experts Say Trump's Agenda Would Lead to A Recession
The basic elements of Donald Trump's plans and his temperament have led economists and leaders from across the spectrum to argue he will lead the economy into recession. An independent analysis by Mark Zandi, a former economic advisor to John McCain, found that Donald Trump's agenda, including his mass deportation plan, would result in a "lengthy recession" and a loss of more than 3.4 million jobs. Liberals and conservatives alike say Trump's ideas would be disastrous. The Chamber of Commerce and labor unions, Mitt Romney and Elizabeth Warren, and economists on the left, right and center all agree: Trump's policies would throw us back into recession.
Moody's Analytics report by Mark Zandi, economic adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign: By the end of [Trump's] presidency, there are close to 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate rises to as high as 7% … the average American household's after-inflation income will stagnate, and stock prices and real house values will decline.
Mark Zandi, economic adviser to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign: If Trump's policies were enacted it would be some form of disaster for the economy. If you force 11 million undocumented immigrants to leave in a year, you would be looking at a depression.
Politico: Economists savage Trump's economic agenda
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Does a recession sound 'great' to you? Does 7 million lost jobs sound like 'winning?' No probably, not. And yet, that's exactly where our country would be headed under Trump's trade policies, according to an analysis released last week.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: Trump's policies would make life exponentially worse for those who count on a paycheck.
Mitt Romney: If Donald Trump's plans were ever implemented, the country would sink into prolonged recession.
Elizabeth Warren: When the economy is in this kind of trouble, calling on Donald Trump for help is like if your house is on fire calling an arsonist to come help out.
Business the Trump Way: Multiple Bankruptcies, Stiffing Contractors, Outsourcing, and Scamming Americans
Trump likes to brag that his business experience is his primary qualification for office, and he talks a big game about putting "America first," but his record in business tells a very different story.
TRUMP: I've been a world-class businessman…That's the thinking that our country needs
TRUMP: I'm going to do for the country what I did for my business.
Just like he makes big promises on the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised investors in his businesses would get rich. But over the years, he intentionally ran up huge amounts of debt on his companies and then he defaulted.
New York Times: His casino companies made four trips to bankruptcy court, each time persuading bondholders to accept less money rather than be wiped out.
He bankrupted his companies – not once, not twice, but more than four times. He has tried to play this off as normal business behavior, but as CNN has pointed out, no major company in America has filed Chapter 11 more often in the last 30 years than Trump's casinos.
PolitiFact: Yep, Donald Trump's companies have declared bankruptcy...more than four times
TRUMP: "Every major business leader, has used the - I never went bank bankrupt, by the way, as you know, everybody knows. But - hundreds of companies, hundreds of deals, I used the law four times and made a tremendous thing. I'm in business. I did a very good job."
CNN: No major U.S. company has filed for Chapter 11 more than Trump's casino empire in the last 30 years
Thousands of people lost their jobs. Shareholders were wiped out. The people he made big promises to were harmed, which is what will happen to America if we let him run the country like one of his bankrupt businesses.
Chris Wallace: In that case alone lenders to your company lost over $1 billion and more than 1,100 people were laid off.
Associated Press: Employment at Trump's three casinos fell from 12,757 to 10,206, a 20 percent decline. Rival casinos increased their staffing by 13 percent during that same period
Forbes: In the case of his casinos, Trump has screwed his shareholders three consecutive times by wiping out their investment.
Trump has stiffed hundreds of small businesses that did work for him. Hundreds of small businesses, contractors, and workers that that worked for Donald Trump – painters, waiters, plumbers, landscapers, and others – never got paid. Sometimes he offered them 30 cents on the dollar for projects they had already completed. Hundreds of liens have been filed against him by contractors, going back decades.
USA Today: Trump's 4,000+ lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee
Michael Diehl, Freehold Music Co.: Diehl reportedly received 70 cents on the dollar - and a threat that he would do worse if Trump's situation came to bankruptcy - for about $100,000 worth of grand pianos he sold Trump. Watch the story of Michael Diehl here.
Marty Rosenberg, Atlantic Plate Glass: Rosenberg's family business, Atlantic Plate Glass, was contracted to install floor-to-ceiling curtain walls of glass at the Trump Taj Mahal.
Atlantic Plate Glass was not paid in full for its work on the Taj Mahal - Trump eventually owed the company more than $1 million, and the company lost about $450,000 in its final settlement with Trump.
Andrew Tesoro, Architect: Tesoro designed the clubhouse of the Trump National Golf Course in Westchester, NY. Trump loved it. But when Tesoro sent Trump a bill for his work, he replied through his lawyers: Accept pennies on the dollar or I'll tie you up in court for years.
Charles Sperry, Baring Industries: Sperry was president of Baring Industries, which had a multi-million dollar contract to provide kitchen equipment to the Trump Taj-Mahal. As Reuters reports, Sperry's company "eventually received 90 percent of what they were owed...just enough to cover expenses and pay workers, but not enough to realize a profit for Baring's work."
Edward Friel Jr., Edward J. Friel Company: Friel Jr.'s company never received more than $80,000 of the $400,000 it was owed for completed work on one of Trump's casinos in the 1980s. Friel Jr.'s son Paul says, "That began the demise of the Edward J. Friel Company… which has been around since my grandfather."
USA Today: Trump [offered] as little as 30 cents on the dollar to some of the contractors
Trump has outsourced many of his goods instead of making them in America. His products have been manufactured in at least 12 countries. Trump ties, in China. Trump shirts in Bangladesh. Trump furniture in Turkey. Trump mirrors in India. And Trump barware in Slovenia.
Trump clothing: made in Mexico
Trump ties: made in China
Trump shirts: made in Bangladesh
Trump furniture: made in Turkey and Germany
Trump mirrors: made in India
Trump barware: made in Slovenia
Trump promised ordinary Americans they would get rich through Trump University, encouraging people to max out their credit cards and give thousands just to line his own pockets. Former employees called Trump University a "fraudulent scheme" and a "total lie." It sought out struggling people, telling staff to look for "a single parent of three children that may need money for food." And now he's being sued for fraud.
Wall Street Journal: Ex-Employees Criticize Trump University, Calling It 'Scheme' and 'Total Lie'
New York Times: Former Trump University Workers Call the School a 'Lie' and a 'Scheme' in Testimony
San Diego Union-Tribune: Court documents that continue to be unsealed in the Trump University case portray the program as a "fraudulent scheme" that employed high-pressure sales tactics to extract as much money from customers as possible.
New York Times: Within the documents made public Tuesday were internal employee guides encouraging customers with little money to pay for the tuition with their credit cards.
New York Times: Corrine Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them could not afford.
TIME: Two examples of personal problems potential Trump University buyers may be experiencing: "Are they a single parent of three children that may need money for food? Or are they a middle-aged commuter that is tired of traveling for 2 hours for work each day?"
The New Yorker: The class-action suit...was brought in California by some of Trump University's disgruntled former attendees.
The Choice In This Election Is Clear
Hillary Clinton wants to bring Americans together to tackle the big challenges facing the country, while Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit to lead – and would tear our country apart with his dangerous ideas, divisive rhetoric, and history of harming hard-working Americans. Hillary has a detailed plan to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. She'd make the largest investment in job creation since World War II and make college debt-free for anyone who wants to attend. The same former McCain advisor who said Trump's plans would cost 3.4 million jobs and lead to a recession found that under Hillary's plans, the economy would add 10 million jobs in her first term. She is the only candidate with a record helping working families and a comprehensive plan to ensure working families are given a fair shot at success and opportunity.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org