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Biden: ‘This Is A Recession Created By Donald Trump’s Negligence’

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his pitch to voters in the battleground state of Michigan on Wednesday, promising a union crowd in the Detroit suburbs that he would reverse the offshoring of jobs and spur growth in manufacturing.

Speaking to members of the United Auto Workers against a backdrop of American-made cars, Biden rolled out a batch of policies meant to lure U.S. businesses into investing at home through a mix of tax penalties and credits. He slammed President Donald Trump for his handling of both the pandemic and the economy, saying his botched response to the coronavirus has left far more Americans out of work than needed to be.

“While this deadly disease ripped through our nation, he failed to do his job on purpose,” Biden said, alluding to quotes reported by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward on Wednesday, in which Trump said he deliberately downplayed the pandemic’s deadliness in public.

“His failure has not only cost lives, it sent our economy into a tailspin,” Biden went on. “This is a recession created by Donald Trump’s negligence.”

Michigan is a key state in Biden’s path to the White House. Trump carried the state against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016 by fewer than 11,000 votes, one of several cracks in the “blue wall” that cost Clinton the election. Trump made inroads in Michigan and other Midwest states in part by framing his campaign around trade deals and the loss of U.S. jobs to countries like Mexico.

The Biden campaign is determined not to let Trump own the issue this time around.

His failure has not only cost lives, it sent our economy into a tailspin.
Joe Biden on President Donald Trump

Ahead of Biden’s speech Wednesday in the city of Warren, the campaign released what was billed as a “buy America” and “make it in America” plan. In addition to hiking the corporate tax rate, the campaign said a Biden administration would institute a 10% “offshoring penalty” tax on profits U.S. companies earn on goods made overseas and sold in the U.S. The tax would apply to call centers and other services that many American-based companies have shifted to other countries.

The campaign said Biden would pair that penalty with a 10% tax credit for companies that put a closed facility to new use or retool one currently in use. An example it gave was an auto company that retrofits a factory for new electric vehicles.

Biden couldn’t do any of that without cooperation from Congress, but the campaign said he would create a “Made in America” office within the White House and issue a slew of “buy America” executive orders.

Trump touted similar measures as a way to boost American manufacturing after he won office. He even issued an executive order in 2017 requiring federal agencies to produce annual reports documenting where they procured their goods. But as The Los Angeles Times noted last week, “Three years later, it appears no such reports have been produced.” The administration has not moved to close loopholes in current buy-America provisions, which Biden alluded to Wednesday.

“He makes his wild claims, and now hopes we wont remember what he said,” Biden said. “He’s hoping we just have poor memories.”

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the United Auto Workers headquarters in Warren, Michigan, on Wednesday.



Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at the United Auto Workers headquarters in Warren, Michigan, on Wednesday.

In polls, voters prefer the former vice president on a range of issues ― they favor his response to the pandemic and find him more trustworthy than the president ― but the two candidates are far more competitive on jobs and the economy. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday showed Biden with a 12-point lead nationally but the two candidates in a tie on the question of who would handle the economy better.

Until the pandemic began, Trump enjoyed steady job growth that had begun under Obama. But coronavirus-induced state shutdowns and the lack of a coherent federal response have left millions of Americans out of work nearly six months into the pandemic.

Rep. Andy Levin, a Democrat who represents the area, said in an interview last week that campaigning on the ground in Michigan was crucial for Biden’s presidential hopes. He noted that Macomb County, which includes Warren, voted with the winner in the last seven presidential elections.

“People want to be listened to. They want to be paid attention to. You need to show up,” Levin said.

Levin added that Biden needs to keep reminding people how the Obama administration helped rescue the auto industry during the financial crisis.

“He has every tool to beat up Trump on these issues,” he said. “But he needs to actually do it.”

Kevin Robillard contributed reporting.