WARREN, Mich., Aug. 11 (UPI) — Hillary Clinton said Thursday her economic plan would create jobs by investing in infrastructure and restoring manufacturing, criticizing her opponent Donald Trump’s proposals as amounting to a huge tax break for the wealthiest Americans.
Clinton did not make any new economic policy proposals, but repeated her plan to invest $275 billion in infrastructure repairs and improvements, promising the largest public sector investment since building the nation’s interstate system in the 1950s.
She contrasted that with Trump’s proposal to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, calling it the “Trump loophole” because “it would allow him to pay less than half the current tax rate on many of his businesses.”
Clinton also criticized Trump’s personal business practices, saying he stiffed contractors who performed work on his job sites and chose to make his Trump brand apparel in China and Mexico rather than the United States.
“One of the things Donald Trump could do to actually make America great again is make things in America again,” she said.
Clinton spoke at Futuramic Tool & Engineering, a Warren, Mich.-based parts manufacturer for the automotive, aircraft and aerospace industries.
It was Clinton’s first trip to Michigan since March, when she unexpectedly lost the primary to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Thursday’s speech comes days after Trump’s economic speech Monday to the Detroit Economics Club.
While Trump won the GOP Michigan primary by a comfortable 12 points, Clinton lost her race to Sanders by 1.5 points.
Sanders and Trump campaigned hard on a platform opposing free trade agreements they said had hurt American manufacturing, particularly in the automotive industry that has been the heart of the state’s struggling economy.
Clinton has had a more complicated position on free trade given her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s and she supported the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal with Asian nations supported by President Barack Obama, while she was serving as his secretary of state.
Clinton now opposes the TPP and reiterated that position Thursday. She also said she will crack down on unfair trade practices by other nations by appointing a “chief trade prosecutor” to go after international offenders.
She also hewed closer to Trump’s call for tariffs on international goods brought in from China, Mexico and other nations.
While Clinton said Trump aims to “start a trade war with China,” she did say she would use some similar tactics if foreign countries don’t change how they do business.
“When countries break the rules we won’t hesitate to impose targeted tariffs,” Clinton said.
Trump has said he intends to campaign hard in upper Midwest Rust Belt states, though polls show Clinton with a large lead in Michigan. Clinton has led in every survey completed in the state in a head-to-head matchup with Trump by an average of 6.6 points, according to Real Clear Politics.
The last two surveys of the state, one by the Detroit Free Press and WXYZ-TV and the other by the Detroit News and WDIV-TV, found Clinton leading by 10 and 9 percentage points respectively. Both polls were completed in early August, after both political conventions ended.