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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump promised on Wednesday to lift the economy "to unprecedented heights" and bring about a quick "return to full employment," but did not lay out specific economic plans for a potential second term.

Why it matters: Economists have largely abandoned expectations that the economy and labor market will spring right back to pre-pandemic levels. Instead, they are bracing for an uneven, sluggish road back.

What he's saying: President Trump told an event hosted by the Economic Club of New York on Wednesday that "we're going again for a big middle-income tax cut" — which he also promised ahead of the 2018 elections — but didn't provide specifics.

  • Trump also said he has an infrastructure plan now, "but we're gonna make it much bigger." He did not elaborate.
  • Trump positioned the election as "a choice between a socialist nightmare and the American Dream," and he claimed a Joe Biden victory would cause a "steep" economic depression.

The big picture: President Trump also said the White House was "trying to get some stimulus money" for industries battered by the pandemic, like the airlines and cruise lines.

  • He said he'd like to see the Democrats "loosen up a little bit" — a week after Trump called off negotiations and then demanded that Congress "go big or go home" on stimulus.
  • Negotiations remain at an impasse. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who had a call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, said that it's unlikely there will be a COVID relief deal before the election.

Go deeper: Where Trump stands on economic promises

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Wall Street power shift

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Power will move from Wall Street to Washington over the next four years.

  • That's the message being sent by President-elect Biden, with his expected nomination of Wall Street foe Gary Gensler to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, and by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), incoming head of the Senate Banking Committee.

Why it matters: Biden is charting an economic policy that's visibly to the left of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. If he succeeds, it's going to show up not only in taxes and spending, but also in regulation.

Who to watch: Biden is being pulled to the left on economic policy not only by the Democratic Party, but also by economic orthodoxy.

  • Led by incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the economic policy team has signaled that it will be the first administration ever to construct economic policy around issues like race, gender equality and climate change, rather than around traditional indicators like gross domestic product or deficit ratios.
  • Gensler has a skepticism of Wall Street learned the hard way — in the halls of Goldman Sachs. He won't be snowed by bankers trying to tell him that they know better than he does.