Jan 8, 2020

Bloomberg unveils Trump-focused economic agenda

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg released Wednesday an economic agenda that focuses heavily on helping "the people and communities that have been short-changed by President Trump," per the plan's details, by creating jobs and increasing wages.

Why it matters: It's no secret Trump wants to run his re-election campaign on the economy, but Bloomberg is tapping into a conversation we're hearing from voters all across the country, whether in our focus groups or on the campaign trail: wages aren't keeping up and Trump isn't talking about that.

  • There might be more jobs available, but the wages aren't matching the demands of a 21st century lifestyle — and many Americans are piecing together multiple gigs to make ends meet.
  • Bloomberg will travel to Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio later today to sell his "All-in economy" agenda to voters there, and Axios will be at all three stops.
  • Hillary Clinton won two of those three states in 2016, with Trump taking Ohio.

What they're saying: "I know that our economy is working fine for people like me — and people like Donald Trump," Bloomberg said on a call with reporters yesterday morning. "But it is badly broken for the vast majority of Americans."

  • "He’s counting on the economy to lift him to victory — and he’s hoping to face a career politician who’s never created any jobs," he said, referring to his three terms as mayor of New York City, during which he created 400,000 jobs.

Between the lines: Through his policy rollout and travel, Bloomberg is trying to puncture a hole in the president's narrative of an economic boom for all Americans.

  • Bloomberg is visiting a community college on the South Side of Chicago, an area that is facing high levels of poverty even though it's in one of the country's wealthiest cities.
  • He'll speak to the concerns of displaced manufacturing workers in Akron, Ohio after that, and meet with farmers in Wells, Minn., who have been negatively affected by Trump's trade wars.

The big picture: Despite his late entrance into the 2020 presidential race, Bloomberg hasn't wasted any time releasing policy proposals and taking on Trump directly.

  • His "All-in economy" agenda starts with an investment in education and vocational training, so that Americans can get the skills that employers are prioritizing for hiring.
  • The plan also proposes launching "a major public research and development initiative in industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and medicine" to stimulate job growth.
  • Bloomberg also calls for a $15 minimum wage, an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit to better help gig-economy workers, and a proposed investment in rural broadband access.

A Bloomberg campaign official told Axios on the call yesterday that the exact costs of the plan are still being sorted out because "all of the plans he’s issuing are intertwined."

  • The campaign said they'll be releasing tax- and spending-related plans for Bloomberg's various policies "in the coming weeks."
  • While there's no hook to the release of this plan, Bloomberg's 2020 team said, given his focus on Super Tuesday, it's important to have "as many critical policy positions out for voters to understand and discuss sooner than later."

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Michael Bloomberg's stops yesterday in Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio were packaged as jobs-and-economy appeal to Americans shortchanged by President Trump — but they provided broader insights into his unorthodox candidacy.

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Trump-Bloomberg feuding reaches new levels

Mike Bloomberg addresses local leaders in Oakland, California, as part of his focus on states with large numbers of delegates, Jan. 17. Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group.

Maybe it was the eye-popping FEC data about Mike Bloomberg's Q4 spending. Or a rivalry over their Super Bowl ads. Or a change to Democrats' rules that may soon allow Bloomberg to participate in the primary debates.

In any case, President Trump raged overnight on Twitter, primarily going after the height of the 5-foot-8 billionaire who's running as a Democrat. And Bloomberg's campaign shot back, hitting Trump for his weight and hue.