May 6 (Reuters) - The coronavirus pandemic put tens of millions out of Americans out of work, ended the longest U.S. economic recovery on record and undermined what was going to be a key argument for President Donald Trump’s re-election.
Now, Trump and his opponent in the Nov. 3 election, Democrat Joe Biden, have to convince Americans they have the best strategy to get the economy back on track.
Here is a look at how the candidates want to revive the economy:
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Trump has signed legislation to flush the economy with trillions of dollars in one-time aid to businesses, individuals and local governments.
The president has also encouraged states to reopen as quickly as possible even as his health advisers warn there could be a new increase in infections. Allowing businesses to operate again could reduce the need for more direct payments to individuals and companies hit by the shutdown.
Biden has cautioned against reopening the economy without first ramping up testing for the coronavirus. The former vice president, who oversaw U.S. stimulus spending after the 2008 financial crisis, says households - as well as state and local governments - need more economic support to get through the shutdown.
While Trump has said further stimulus measures must include a payroll tax cut, Biden wants Washington to offer states more support in paying for unemployment benefits.
The president, a former real estate developer, has touted the 2017 tax cuts he signed into law as an example of his approach to stimulating economic growth. Cutting payrolls taxes would boost paychecks of most working Americans.
Biden has criticized the 2017 tax cuts as giving too many benefits to the wealthy and to corporations. He has pledged to reverse some of those cuts, raising the marginal tax rate on the highest income earners back to 39.6%, from 37%, while also lifting some investment profit taxes. He also supports raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour from $7.25 and expanding some tax credits for lower-income workers.
“We have to build a much more inclusive, much more equitable middle class and an economy that everybody - everybody - gets a fair shot at,” Biden said at a campaign event on April 28.
Trump allies have said they will attack the policy of raising taxes while the economy struggles to recover.
In a return to a core issue of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump is telling voters he wants to boost domestic manufacturing. He has recently stepped up verbal attacks on Beijing as his administration accelerates an initiative to remove industrial supply chains from China.
He has also argued that America’s difficulties in procuring medical supplies internationally during the pandemic are another reason to encourage U.S. companies to avoid offshoring.
“If one thing comes out of this, more than anything else, is that we should make product in the United States,” Trump said during an April 19 press briefing.
As a U.S. senator, Biden voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade pact that helped Mexican factories gain access to the U.S. market.
Biden has criticized Trump’s tariff war with China as bad for U.S. consumers and farmers and in 2018 he called for “retaliation” on countries like China which he has said subsidize industries and allow intellectual property theft.
Biden wants Washington to help foster domestic production of electric vehicles, a contrast with Trump who has signaled little appetite for a “green” infrastructure program and advocates more spending on U.S. roads, bridges and airports. (Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York and Jason Lange in Washington, Editing by Soyoung Kim and Lincoln Feast.)