Speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC) on Tuesday night touted U.S. President Donald Trump’s pre-pandemic economic accomplishments, warning that key policies such as tax cuts could be reversed if a Democratic president is elected in November.
Tax cuts, deregulation, “fair” trade deals and the “unleashing” of the energy sector have helped build a strong U.S. economy before the COVID-19 crisis, according to White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who spoke virtually from Redding, Connecticut.
In a 3-minute speech, Kudlow also lashed out at Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s plan to increase tax amid the pandemic.
“This is no time for a $4 trillion tax hike. Coming out of the deep pandemic, who in their right mind would pick the pockets of taxpayers and drain money from their wallets and purses?” Kudlow said.
Biden had pledged that he would roll back Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. When he formally accepted the Democratic presidential nomination last week, Biden argued that the president’s 1.3 trillion dollar “tax giveaway” benefited the wealthiest one percent and the most profitable corporations.
In a recent interview with ABC, Biden said he would raise taxes for anybody making over 400,000 dollars a year. According to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, the former vice president’s plan would raise tax revenue by 3.8 trillion dollars over the next ten years.
“When I hear that Joe Biden is ready to raise taxes, crush us with regulations and weaken our international trade position, I shudder. We simply cannot do that again. Business can’t endure a Biden-induced recession,” said John Peterson, owner of a second-generation metal fabrication business.
Peterson, who spoke at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., argued that the Trump administration’s tax cuts allowed his small business to be more competitive both domestically and internationally.
“Now looking ahead, more tax cuts and regulatory rollback will be in store, payroll tax cuts for higher wages, income tax cuts for the middle class, capital gains tax cuts for investment productivity and jobs, much more regulatory relief for small businesses,” Kudlow said.
While Kudlow expected a V-shape recovery in the second half of the year, U.S. Federal Reserve officials said in the minutes of the Fed’s latest policy meeting that uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook remained “very elevated,” with the path of the economy highly dependent on the course of the virus.
The U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter amid mounting COVID-19 fallout. According to recent data from the Labor Department, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in all programs for the week ending Aug. 1 still totalled 28 million.
Kudlow blamed the “once-in-100-year” pandemic for dragging the U.S. economy into recession, while the Democrats, who have been lambasting the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, called it “President Trump’s recession” in the 2020 Democratic Party Platform.
Other speakers touting the president’s economic achievements at Tuesday night’s RNC event include Cris Peterson, co-owner of a dairy farm in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, who said Trump’s focus on negotiating new trade deals gave her family the confidence to rebuild their barn and dairy operation.
Echoing her remarks, Robert Vlaisavljevich, mayor of Eveleth, a small town in Minnesota, said Trump got rid of bad trade deals and replaced them with deals that put U.S. interests first.
Democrats, however, repeatedly criticized the Trump’s administration’s trade policies. The 2020 Democratic Party Platform said the president launched “a reckless trade war” with China that cost more than 300,000 American jobs and sent farmers into bankruptcy, decimating the American heartland.
Vlaisavljevich, who identified himself as a life-long Democrat, also attacked the Democrats’ environmental policies, saying that Biden has allowed the radical left to craft his policies, and the Green New Deal would be a job killer.
Biden, however, had argued that tackling climate change would bring opportunities and create jobs.
“It’s not only a crisis, it’s an enormous opportunity. An opportunity for America to lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good-paying jobs in the process,” Biden said in his presidential nomination acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.
Other key topics in RNC’s Tuesday primetime remarks include anti-abortion, faith, border security and foreign policy. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Republican Senator Rand Paul, and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds were among the speakers for the convention’s second night themed “Land of Opportunity.”
The four-day RNC event kicked off on Monday with a state-by-state roll call formally nominating Trump to run in the Nov. 3 presidential election. The president will formally accept the Republican nomination for a second term from the White House on Thursday night.