NEW YORK — Outlining what aides called his broad economic vision, Donald Trump claimed Thursday that the economy can create 25 million new jobs over the next decade with the help of lower taxes and less government regulation.
The Republican presidential nominee also repeated pledges to revamp trade policy and de-regulate energy production as part of a plan he said would boost growth to 3.5% per year, generating the new jobs.
"Everything that is broken today can be fixed, and every failure can be turned into a truly great success," Trump said during a prepared speech to The Economic Club of New York.
Aides to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton have disputed Trump's analysis, saying his tax cuts benefit only wealthy people like himself. They say his proposed regulation cuts in energy would increase pollution and undermine climate change efforts, while reduction of financial regulations would restore the fiscal environment that fostered the financial crash of the previous decade.
Trump spent part of his economic speech bashing Clinton, saying that he wants to offer people "pay checks" while "the only thing she can offer is a welfare check."
The New York businessman, speaking just blocks from Trump Tower, began by talking about polls that show him moving up and even ahead of Clinton in key states like Ohio and Florida.
"We're leading, and we've having a lot of fun," Trump said.
While some of Trump's tax and regulation proposals are also advanced by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the Republican nominee also maintained his break from GOP orthodoxy on another key issue: trade.
As he has throughout his campaign, Trump said deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement have helped ship jobs overseas, particularly manufacturing jobs. He again pledged to re-work NAFTA or walk away from the agreement that includes Mexico and Canada. Trump again said he would kill the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that includes Pacific Rim nations.
The Trump economic plan — most of which would have to be approved by Congress in any case — would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three, with incomes taxed at 12%, 25% or 33%. Many low-income Americans would not pay taxes at all, he said.
As Democrats accused Trump of favoring the wealthy, his campaign stressed the benefits to the middle class.
Couples making $50,000 to $75,000 annually — with two children and child care expenses of $8,000 to $10,000 — would see tax bills cut by at least 30%, according to the campaign. Married couples making $5 million per year, with two children and $12,000 in child care expenses, would save only 3% on tax bills.
Trump said his team can finance a $4.4 trillion tax cut through revenue generated by economic growth, reducing government waste, and what he called a "penny plan," deducting one cent from every dollar spent on non-defense and non-entitlement programs.
The plan is also designed to raise revenue by capping deductions at $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for married filers, which the Trump campaign said would eliminate "many costly tax loopholes while stimulating growth."
While Trump said his plan would be "deficit neutral," some analysts are skeptical.
Marc Goldwein, senior vice president with the non-partisan Committee For a Responsible Federal Budget, said Trump's $4.4 trillion tax cut proposal is well down from a $9 trillion plan he pitched earlier in the campaign.
The plan, however, also counts on money from a 3.5% economic growth rate -- a number well in excess of current projections, Goldwein said. He added that the "penny plan" and pledges to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse also may not add up to enough to offset the tax cut.
"The numbers still don't seem to add up," Goldwein said.
The energy part of Trump's plan includes fewer restrictions on coal and oil and gas drilling, both on land and off shore.
During a question-and-answer session with a moderator, Trump cast the nation's current economy in gloomy terms, and described the election as a "last chance" to prevent the United States from becoming a "large-scale version of Venezuela."
Trump again accused the Federal Reserve of playing politics at the behest of President Obama, saying it is using low interest rates to keep the market "artificially high" to avoid a pre-election disruption. Just four months ago, however, he told The Wall Street Journal that raising interest rates "would be a disaster."
In introducing Trump, running mate Mike Pence said "this is a challenging time for working families."
Trump repeatedly invoked politics during his speech. Repeating lines that draw big applause at rallies, Trump again pledged to build an anti-migration wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,and again said that Mexico would pay for it.
Early in his remarks, the Republican nominee, who has mocked Obama and Clinton for reading speeches from teleprompter, noted that his teleprompter for his economic remarks wasn't working.
"Lucky I brought some notes," Trump said.
Minutes later, Trump praised himself for transitioning from notes back to the suddenly working teleprompter, playing off his line about how broken things can be fixed and failures turned into successes.
"Just look at the way I just melded into the teleprompter that just went on," he said. "Who else could have pulled that off, OK? Who else."
After the speech, he asked a worker: "What happened with the teleprompter, man?"