Trump, Clinton campaign on different economic visions

Washington, Nov 3 (IANS) The economy is once again a key issue in the heated campaign between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her Republican rival Donald Trump, who disagree about the strength of the US economy and have floated widely differing tax and energy plans.

Trump cites the weakest recovery following a recession in the post-War period as evidence of President Barack Obama’s failed economic policies, which Clinton wants to continue, Efe news reported on Tuesday.

The US economy has grown at an average annual rate of 2 per cent in recent years, and the 70-year-old Trump has promised to double that figure if he wins the November 8 election.

While economists acknowledge that the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis has been slower than the historical average, they note the solid performance in other macroeconomic indicators, such as the unemployment rate, which is around 5 per cent, a level considered to be near full employment.

The 69-year-old Clinton, for her part, has praised the US economy’s performance since the “Great Recession” caused by the popping of the US real estate bubble that led to the 2008 financial meltdown.

Clinton, however, acknowledges that much work remains to be done to restore the middle class to the levels prior to the crisis.

The Democratic candidate has proposed increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for infrastructure projects and provide free university educations to low-income families.

Trump, a businessman, contends that excessive federal regulations are stifling economic growth and sapping entrepreneurial energy.

The New York real estate developer has vowed to cut taxes for everyone in the US, stop spending billions of dollars on UN climate programs and shift the money to domestic spending.

Trump, whose slogan is “Make America Great Again,” has promised to rebuild the US mining, steel and manufacturing sectors, which have been battered by globalization and free trade agreements, and the businessman has focused his efforts on the “Rust Belt” states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan, along with the coal-mining states of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Both Trump and Clinton have promised to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, an effort backed by the Obama administration to create a free trade area spanning the Asia-Pacific region.

Trump has vowed to go further, imposing tariffs on products from China and Mexico, two key US trading partners, and to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.