Natasha K. Mascarenhas
Natasha K. Mascarenhas


Election 2016

Clinton, Trump argue over trade-deals and taxes

By Natasha Mascarenhas

Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump criticized Secretary Hillary Clinton’s previous support of the North American Free Trade Agreement, triggering an aggressive exchange between the candidates, during Monday night’s first presidential debate.

“You go anywhere you want, Secretary Clinton, and you will see devastation, where manufacturers [are] down 30, 40 [and] sometimes 50 percent,” Trump said, in the initial segment “Achieving Prosperity.”

He then called NAFTA the “worst trade deal ever maybe signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country.”

Clinton countered that while she initially supported her husband’s trade deal, she came out against it once the terms were finalized. Trump repeatedly hit back by referencing Clinton’s previous description of NAFTA as “the gold standard of trade deals.”

“Donald I know you live in your own reality,” Clinton said, ignoring his claims. “But that is not the facts.”

Then, citing independent experts, Clinton said her tax proposals would add 10 million jobs, whereas Trump’s plans would reduce the availability of 3 ½ million jobs.

Trump responded by overcasting Clinton’s regulations as a “disaster.”

“I'm going to cut taxes big league...and you're going to raise taxes big league,” Trump said, increasing in volume.

During the first segment, the two candidates mainly clashed over tax-cut proposals and trade regulations. Lester Holt, the anchor of “NBC Nightly News”, moderated the debate, which was held at Hofstra University.

At one point, Clinton mentioned Trump’s pleasure during the housing crisis, a devastating time for millions of Americans.

“That’s called business,” he said.

Clinton touched upon Trump’s trade philosophy, which proposes larger tax cuts for the wealthiest.

“I call it trumped up trickle-down,” Clinton said.

She believes that the tax system should “rewards work, and not just financial transactions.”

The Democratic candidate addressed common middle class concerns such as minimum wage, equal pay and profit sharing.

“The more that we can do for the middle class, the more we can invest in you, your education your skills...the better we’ll grow,” said Clinton. “That’s the kind of economy I want..”

The Republican candidate focused on the middle income class in his discussion of the future of American manufacturing.

Trump cited China and Mexico as the main players luring American companies with cheap production prices. To minimize imports, he proposed a tariff on goods coming into the United States. This would increase the profitability of blue and white collar workers alike.

While the debate was heated, both candidates did agree on issues such as the importance of fair trade and childcare. They also referenced fact-checkers during their rebuttals, on more than one occasion.

“I kind of assumed that there would be a lot of these charges and claims...” said Clinton, in response to Trump’s comments on her past decisions regarding trade deals.

“Facts,” interrupted Trump.

“If you want see in real time what the facts are, please go and take a look,” Clinton said, urging America to look at the fact-checking feature on her website.

“And take a look at mine also,” Trump said.