Trump’s First Economic Policy Ad Is A Tremendous Mess

Donald Trump CREDIT: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump hasn’t run many TV ads in the general election so far. But after releasing his first one on immigration a few weeks ago, he rolled out another on Monday that focuses on economic policies.

The claims made in the ad are hard to support, however, and use some very creative footnotes.

The ad starts out by describing the negative impacts of Hillary Clinton’s agenda. “The middle class gets crushed,” it claims, while also saying her presidency would lead to higher taxes, increased government spending, and fewer jobs.

On the first point about the middle class, the citation is a Pew Research Center report on the long-term trend of a shrinking middle class in metropolitan areas across the country, a report that predates the 2016 election cycle. It also has nothing specifically to do with Clinton or her policies.

To claim that spending and taxes would go up in a Clinton administration, the ad relies on reports from the deficit-hawkish Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the ultra-conservative American Action Forum.

The ad then goes on to claim that taxes will be lower, jobs will be plentiful, and wages will rise during a Trump presidency.

Perhaps the strangest citation comes attached to the claim that Americans would see tax relief under a President Trump. The footnote is simply to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Congressional Republicans’ tax plan, which differs significantly from the plan that Trump has himself laid out. While he has said he will be reworking his plan and releasing an updated version that will be more in line with Ryan’s plan, he has yet to make it public.

In the very next frame, the ad cites an analysis of Trump’s own plan. The comparison between the candidates on job creation comes from the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation, which found that Clinton would cost the country 311,000 jobs, while Trump would create 5.3 million. But the foundation uses “dynamic scoring” to analyze the tax plans, which makes many faulty assumptions about the future, such as the notion that lower taxes leads to economic growth.

Other analyses have found that, contrary to Trump’s ad, Clinton’s plans would lead to higher economic and wage growth. Taking everything both candidates have put forward, Moody’s Analytics found that Clinton’s proposals would grow the economy by 1.7 percent, add 3.2 million jobs, and leave the average American household with $2,000 more in income, with the poor and middle class benefitting the most.

Trump’s proposals, on the other hand, would push the country into a recession and cost 3.5 million jobs. Meanwhile, all analyses of his tax plan — including the Tax Foundation’s — find that they are skewed heavily in favor of the rich, provide the middle class with very little in tax relief, and would come with a huge cost to the government.