Politics

Where Clinton and Trump Stand on Economic Growth and Jobs

Clinton wants fair trade and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Trump says "Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo."

Key differences: Trump wants to pull back from worldwide economic engagement in pursuit of tougher trade deals and creating more jobs at home. His approach is similar to the Brexit vote to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union, only on a more global scale. Clinton emphasizes economic development that relies on trade. And she supports more liberal immigration policies, which Trump opposes.

Key Clinton quote: “We need to raise pay, create good paying jobs, and build an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top.”

Key Trump quote: “Americanism, not globalism, will be our credo. As long as we are led by politicians who will not put America First, then we can be assured that other nations will not treat America with respect. The respect that we deserve. Nobody knows the system better than me. Which is why I alone can fix it.”

Trump's proposals are a radical departure from 100 years of Republican pro-business, free-market orthodoxy. He wants to force some American companies to bring their foreign manufacturing operations back to the U.S. from China, Mexico, Japan and Southeast Asia. To put Americans to work, he advocates a huge infrastructure rebuilding program at home, including building a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration. He says he'll deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living illegally in the U.S. and place new restrictions on H-1B visas, which allow skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. for up to six years. Trump supports a federal minimum wage of $10. He wants to declare China a currency manipulator and impose huge tariffs on Chinese and Mexican imports “if they don’t behave.” Such threats concern economists, who worry that they will provoke a trade war and increase the likelihood of a global recession.

At the Republican National Convention Trump denounced former President Bill Clinton’s signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, declaring that it was one of the worst economic deals ever made by the United States. He said he would not “let companies move to other countries, firing employees along the way, without consequences.” There he also pledged to never sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership as it would “make America subject to the rulings of foreign governments.”

Where Trump waves a club, Clinton favors a carrot approach: She would create tax and economic incentives to entice multinationals to bring jobs back to the U.S. She supports creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., and supports the H-1B program. In accordance with the Democratic Party platform, Clinton would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25. She says trade has been a “net plus for our economy,” yet she opposes President Obama’s Trans-Pacific trade agreement. With no real free trader in the presidential race, economist Chris Farrell worries that neither candidate is embracing retraining and financial support for workers who have lost their jobs to international competition. “Yes, protectionism is wrong. But so is not sharing the bounty from freer trade with those on the losing side of trade liberalization,” Farrell says.

In her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton too, said that she would stand up to China and unfair trade deals and that she would support the “steelworkers and autoworkers and homegrown manufacturers.” She called for comprehensive immigration reform because “when we have millions of hardworking immigrants contributing to our economy, it would be self-defeating and inhumane to try to kick them out.”

Sarah Smith contributed to this report.

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