WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2016 - Seeking to seize back some campaign momentum, Donald Trump outlined an economic plan today that calls for rescinding the Obama administration’s “waters of the United States” rule as well its limits on carbon emissions from electric utilities.
Trump’s plan also includes a moratorium on new regulations and calls for eliminating the federal estate tax.Those proposals will please many in agriculture, but Trump also doubled down on his criticism of current trade policy, reiterating his plan to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and calling for a “total renegotiation” of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club, Trump said he would require every federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations “which are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs. Those regulations will be eliminated.”
Trump said unnecessary regulations amounted to “a hidden tax on American consumers, and a massive lead weight on the American economy.”
Trump didn’t specify the targeted regulations in his speech, but an outline of the plan that was later released singled out for elimination the administration’s Clean Power Plan as well as the WOTUS rule, which defines what wetlands, ditches and other features fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Air Act.
Both the WOTUS rule and the climate regulations are currently on hold because of court challenges.
The proposal to eliminate the estate tax would apply to only a relatively small number of farm operations. Under current law, about 3 percent of farm estates are required to file a return, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. A smaller share of farm estates, about 0.8 percent, would actually owe any tax. The 40-percent estate tax currently applies to estates of $5.45 million for an individual or $10.9 million for a couple.
“American workers have paid taxes their whole lives, and they should not be taxed again at death. It’s just plain wrong. We will repeal it,” Trump said.
Trump also proposed to simplify the tax code by reducing the number of tax brackets from seven to three. His plan’s tax rates would be 12, 25 and 33 percent. The current rates range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent.
Trump left little wiggle room on the TPP, with his pledge to pull the United States out of the 12-nation agreement. Trump said Clinton would support congressional approval of the TPP after the election, citing a recent statement by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe that the Clinton campaign denied. Clinton has called for renegotiating the agreement.
McAuliffe “confirmed what I have been saying … from the beginning: If sent to the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton will enact the TPP, as sure as you’re sitting there. Her donors will make sure of it,” Trump said. “A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for TPP, and it’s also a vote for NAFTA.”
Former Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, who has been helping organize Trump's advisory council on agricultural and agricultural issues, told Agri-Pulse during the Republican National Convention last month that Trump's real goal for the TPP is to renegotiate the agreement. “Let's get Donald Trump in there and renegotiate a trade deal that's good for agriculture, good for manufacturing and all parts of our economy. That's what Donald Trump is saying,” Heineman said.
Trump said he would walk away from NAFTA, "if we don't get a better deal."