According To Media, Trump's Economic Plan Is “Short On Specifics”

Media figures blasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s August 8 economic speech for being “detail-devoid” and “ridden with more of the same empty tropes” characteristic of his past economic policy speeches.

Trump Delivers Speech Focused On Economic Plan In Detroit

Trump Delivers “Economic Speech In Which He Floated New Tax Breaks.” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivered a speech focused on the economy on August 8 in Detroit, MI. According to a Reuters report, Trump’s speech included mentions of “tax breaks and cuts to regulation” as well as “new provisions for working parents dealing with childcare costs.” [Reuters, 8/8/16]

Media Criticize Lack Of Details In Trump’s Economic Plan

Business Insider’s Josh Barro: Trump’s Policy Ideas “Offered Few Details.” Josh Barro, senior editor at Business Insider, wrote of Trump's speech that “beyond childcare, Trump has offered few details on his new plan”:

Beyond childcare, Trump has offered few details on his new plan. (“In the coming weeks, we will be offering more detail,” Trump promised Monday.) We don't know what income levels at which his various tax rates would apply. We don't know how much the plan would cost, and whether it would be as comically expensive as last September's plan, which would have reduced federal revenues by about one-quarter over a decade.

And of course, at the same time Trump has been promising large tax cuts, he has been saying he would protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid from cuts and expand the military — meaning he has been making more promises than he can keep.

Even when Trump does specify details, they are subject to change and even erasure. After all, Trump said just last September that he intended to cut the top tax rate to 25%. Now, the plan that promised such a large tax cut has been deleted from his website. [Business Insider, 8/8/16]

Mother Jones: Trump’s Economic Plan Was “Light On Details.” In an August 8 report on Trump’s economic speech, Mother Jones’ Patrick Caldwell wrote that it was “light on details” and “what details did exist undercut his pledge to make life better for low and middle-income families”:

Donald Trump tried to reset his campaign yet again with a Monday visit to Detroit and a promise of an economic agenda. His speech at the Detroit Economic Club was light on details and full of assurances that his campaign website would soon feature specifics on how he'd tackle the economy. But what details did exist undercut his pledge to make life better for low and middle-income families, instead serving largely to keep more money in the pockets of the wealthy people in his own income bracket. [Mother Jones, 8/8/16]

NY Daily News: Trump’s Speech Offers “Same-Old” "Detail-Devoid Rants.” New York Daily News’ Adam Edelman wrote that Trump’s speech was “ridden with more of the same empty tropes” and “detail-devoid rants” for which Trump has “been endlessly criticized.” Edelman further added that Trump’s speech lacked “policy specifics” and instead of explaining “where the gaps in revenue would be made up,” he “instead simply and characteristically [promised] that he would provide more details soon.” From the August 8 New York Daily News article:

At a nearly-one-hour-long speech at the Detroit Economic Club, Trump, designed to put some distance between Trump and the disastrous week he just endured, the dirty-minded dealmaker outlined his economic platform, painting it with the same-old anti-Hillary Clinton rhetoric and detail-devoid rants.


But instead of hitting back at the demonstrators with ideas or policy specifics, Trump would just fire on Clinton again, even criticizing her tenure as a U.S. senator from New York — a chapter in her extensive experience he hasn’t typically broached.


And while Trump offered a small handful of numbers, like saying he’d cut the federal corporate tax rate to 15%, he failed to explain where the gaps in revenue would be made up, instead simply and characterically promising that he would provide more details soon. [New York Daily News, 8/8/16]

Huff. Post: “Trump’s New Economic Plan Is Short On Specifics.” A Huffington Post article headlined “Trump’s Big Economic Policy Address Is Short On Specifics, Other Than Tax Help For Wealthy” noted that Trump’s Detroit speech “offered the same basic ideas” as “his old tax plan,” which was “pulled down … from his website.” The article said Trump “offered a ‘new’ tax plan that didn’t deviate much from his previously described plans.” From the August 8 Huffington Post article:

After spending a week picking a fight with the parents of a fallen soldier, Donald Trump on Monday tried to reinvigorate his campaign with an economic policy speech that lacked detail and didn’t deviate much from his previously described plans.

Trump’s camp had hyped the speech at the Detroit Economic Club as a turning point after a week of slumping polls, with the goal of re-energizing the campaign. But in a scripted message, he offered a few variations on his previously proposed economic policies, along with a milder version of the dire message about a declining America that he’s been serving up for months.

Trump’s campaign on Monday pulled down his old tax plan from his website, and replaced it with the text of his Detroit speech. The original plan would have capped income taxes at 25 percent and long-term capital gains and dividends at 20 percent, while adding $12 trillion to the national debt.

In its place, Trump offered the same basic plan, with some slightly shifted details. More details, he said, would be provided “in the coming weeks.” [The Huffington Post, 8/8/16]

Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen: “There Is Little Documentation Behind Trump’s Speech Today. Few Specifics Offered.”

[Twitter, 8/8/16]

The Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi: “Instead Of Detailing His Policies, [Trump Is] Announcing Vague Plans To Detail Them Another Time.”

[Twitter, 8/8/16]

MTV News’ Jamil Smith: “The Simple Utterance Of Numbers In A Political Speech Does Not Mean That It Was Full Of Detail.”

[Twitter, 8/8/16]

New York’s Annie Lowrey: “Not That Much Detail” In Trump’s “Self-Contradictory Word Salad.” While appearing as a guest on CNN’s Wolf, New York magazine’s Annie Lowrey criticized Trump’s latest speech, saying that “there’s just not that much detail still to look at here”:

ANNIE LOWREY: It does, but this speech was -- for all that he was giving, new policy detail, and for all he was coming closer to the House Republicans, it was self-contradictory word salad, right? What is complicated about the tax code is not that there’s too many different brackets, it’s actually a fairly simple part of the tax code. He is giving a huge tax cut to the wealthiest families. His 15 percent tax rate on pass-through income, for instance, he said that that would be for small businesses. Most of the small businesses that are structured as pass-throughs are things like small law firms that tend to make a lot of money. And again, there's just not that much detail still to look at here. For instance, on the child care proposal, where the way that it sounds like it's structured, that would be huge tax cuts for wealthy families. [CNN, Wolf, 8/8/16]

Media Previously Noted Lack Of Economic Policy Focus From Trump Campaign

Trump’s All-Male “Economic Advisory Council” Is Short On Economists. On August 5, in anticipation of Trump’s upcoming speech at the Detroit Economic Club, the Trump campaign released a list of its so-called “economic advisory council,” which consisted of 13 men, most of them multimillionaire business executives and investors. The team featured just one academic economist and only two people with more than an undergraduate background in the discipline. [Media Matters, 8/5/16]

Speakers Ignored Economic Policy On Republican Convention's Night Devoted To Economic Policy. The second day of the Republican National Convention was billed as an opportunity to highlight Donald Trump’s proposals to boost job creation and economic growth. Journalists blasted the Trump campaign after the speakers ignored the economy and instead attacked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over issues like the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email server. [Media Matters, 7/19/16]