Surrogates for President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden dueled over economic plans Friday, trying to make the case their candidate will lead the nation to post-pandemic prosperity and protect American workers from the Chinese.
The president’s “economic track record really speaks for itself,” Donald Trump Jr. told reporters on a call Friday afternoon. “Prior to COVID-19, there was not a single economic metric where we were not significantly better off as a country.
“So Donald Trump is the guy to do that again, the guy who did it once before the guy who did it under unprecedented incoming, under unprecedented, unrelenting false attacks,” he said.
Things weren’t rosy for workers pre-pandemic, according to Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt, D-Cedar Rapids.
COVID-19, she said, has exacerbated the economic problems the nation’s workers were experiencing under Trump’s economic policies “that rewarded excessive wealth over hard work, economic concentration over workers’ rights and provided too little help for so many Americans struggling to make ends meet.”
Now, the unemployment rate is higher than it was in the Great Recession, she said during a virtual roundtable Friday morning, and “millions have lost jobs, hours, pay, health care or the small businesses that they’ve started through no fault of their own.”
Returning to business as usual won’t be good enough, Running-Marquardt said.
“We have to build back better,” she said about Biden’s New Deal-like economic plan that calls for a $400 billion increase in government purchasing of U.S.-based goods and services and $300 billion increase in research and development in American technology firms.
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The moves would create 5 million jobs, according to Biden, who did not say how he would pay for his plan.
Biden’s “Buy American” plan is an empty promise, according to Trump campaign spokesman Rick Gorka.
Biden’s leadership will ensure the United States “continues to go back to being subservient to China and the rest of the world will take advantage of our economy and our workers.”
“Joe Biden wants to sell out this country and return to the status quo, but we have President Trump standing in the way of that,” Gorka said.
Biden, who he described as “nothing more than a D.C. swamp creature,” has had nearly 50 years in Washington to fix the problems he’s talking about now, Trump said.
“If Joe Biden could actually fix the economy, ... why didn’t he do it yet?” Trump said. “Why didn’t he teach Obama how to do it ... instead of overseeing, literally, the worst economic recovery in American history?”
Area labor union leaders, however, voiced more confidence in Biden’s leadership.
Rick Moyle, executive director of the Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO, called Biden’s plan “a road map to get us, as a country and as working people, to where we need to be.”
Biden’s plan for buying American and building in America would eliminate what Moyle called the “process of invent here and build there.”
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Bill Gerhard, Iowa Building and Construction Trades Council president, was excited about Biden’s infrastructure spending proposal because, in addition to providing jobs for construction workers, “it also helps everyone in the country (because) updating our infrastructure is good for everyone, not just for the guys or girls working on it.”
That’s because Biden is “somebody who gets it, who has cared about working families ... has had the policies to back them up and actually gotten things done for them because he understands them because it’s where he comes from,” said 1st District U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who worked on Biden’s 2008 Iowa caucuses campaign and endorsed the former vice president ahead of the 2020 caucuses.
“That’s been missing — folks who actually get it, who lived it, who understand it.”
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