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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

Candidates expressed widely different approaches for business at the first presidential debate


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head last night for the first presidential debate of the 2016 election. The debate pulled in over 80 million viewers, making it the most watched in history.

The moderator, Lester Holt, focused his questions on three different topics: Achieving prosperity; America’s direction; and securing America. The candidates each had two minutes to respond before they could openly discuss the question asked.

Business was covered heavily in the debate. In fact, the first question Holt asked was about jobs and American workers. Both candidates took a different approach. Trump argued the importance of keeping companies in the U.S. while Clinton focused on reducing tax cuts for the wealthy to redevelop the middle class.

While Clinton did mention jobs in infrastructure and advanced manufacturing, she also said she “want[s] to see more companies do profit-sharing.” She then proposed raising minimum wage, closing “corporate loopholes,” and having paid family leave and sick days.

Trump hounded on bringing jobs home. He claimed that under his plan, taxes would be reduced tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for both big and small companies. He emphasized having businesses build in the U.S. rather than importing from Mexico, China and other countries.

As a follow-up, Holt asked Trump how he will tell American manufacturers that they need to come back. Trump responded by claiming he will renegotiate defective trade deals like NAFTA, and also mentioned enacting taxes on companies that choose to move elsewhere and export goods to the U.S.

Clinton retaliated, saying she would enforce the trade deals we already have by holding people accountable. She also mentioned investing in the middle class, which she believes will happen by reducing tax cuts for the wealthy.

If you missed the debate, we encourage you to read the transcript here.



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