SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
In a political season where insults and hyperbole have often overshadowed policy, this week, the major party candidates tried to deliver some real economic substance. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each gave high-profile speeches this week on their economic plans. Danielle Kurtzleben parsed both speeches for us, and let's see what we can learn. Danielle, thanks very much for joining us.
DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Of course.
SIMON: You think the two candidates aren't quite as far apart as a lot of people think.
KURTZLEBEN: Right. And one of the big areas you can see this is on trade policy. We, of course, throughout the campaign season, have seen both candidates really railing against these trade deals. Donald Trump, of course, really, really is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And here's what Hillary Clinton had to say about that in her speech this week.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)
HILLARY CLINTON: My message to every worker in Michigan and across America is this. I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
KURTZLEBEN: Now both candidates really have very similar underlying messages. They both say, yes, I'm not opposed to trade itself, but I am opposed to bad trade deals - what they consider unfair trade deals. They both said they want to renegotiate NAFTA. They both criticized China a lot. They say that they want to use tariffs in some form.
Now, Trump really likes to attack Clinton because she used to be for the Trans-Pacific Partnership back when she was in the Obama administration. Now she accuses him of going too far on trade and wanting to close the country off. Incidentally, there's one other area the two candidates are very close on, and that's infrastructure spending. She wants...
SIMON: Every politician thinks infrastructure spending is a good idea.
KURTZLEBEN: Oh, absolutely. The question is, you know - how do you pay for it? And she wants to spend $275 billion over five years. Now, Trump, interestingly, has said, you know, around 500 billion. And unlike a lot of other Republicans, he's said, you know, it might just be fine for the government to borrow a lot of money to spend on infrastructure.
SIMON: They both have child care plans, too.
KURTZLEBEN: Right. So here's what they both had to say about their child care plans.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
DONALD TRUMP: My plan will also help reduce the cost of child care by allowing parents to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes.
CLINTON: I think instead we should expand the child tax credit to provide real relief to tens of millions of working families struggling with the costs of raising children - the same families that his plan ignores. And that's just a start.
KURTZLEBEN: So they both want to help families afford child care. As any parent knows, child care is super expensive, but their plans to do it aren't really terribly similar. What Donald Trump said right there is that he wants to create a tax deduction. He really got criticized heavily for this this week because many people said that would largely help richer families. That's because it's a deduction. It comes off of your taxable income. It's not a credit that you might get refunded to you. So he took a lot of heat for that. So he also after that said he had a plan for lower income families, saying that they could, for example, deduct their child care costs from their payroll taxes.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand - she's made child care affordability a big part of her campaign. And one of her plans is that she would limit expenses to 10 percent of families' income. As she said in this clip, she wants a bigger child tax credit. She would really subsidize child care. So that could also be an expensive plan.
SIMON: And what do their tax plans look like?
KURTZLEBEN: Well, here is Donald Trump talking about his tax plan.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
TRUMP: I am proposing an across-the-board income tax reduction, especially for middle-income Americans. This will lead to millions of new and really good-paying jobs. The rich will pay their fair share, but no one will pay so much that it destroys jobs or undermines our ability as a nation to compete.
KURTZLEBEN: Now, Hillary Clinton's tax plan looks starkly different. She says she wants to raise taxes, particularly on the rich. Trump has a very Republican-looking plan. He wants to get rid of the estate tax. He has a lower top rate for those high-earners and a much lower corporate tax rate.
SIMON: The idea of a lower corporate tax rate is to enable businesses to hire more people if they do well.
KURTZLEBEN: Right, and that's exactly what he says. And that's part of how he says he's going to bring jobs to the U.S. - is getting more companies to move to the U.S. But his plan really still does look like it would benefit the rich more than the poor.
SIMON: Daniel Kurtzleben, thanks very much for being with us.
KURTZLEBEN: Of course. Thank you.
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