Why Don’t the Candidates Ever Talk about Money?

 

150915104617-reagan-library-2015-debate-stage-exlarge-169While there were some great moments in the latest GOP debate, and some terrific individual performances — Carly Fiorina seemed to grab all the buzz in the aftermath — one thing that barely came up was the economy. It was very much like the first debate.

The day after the candidates faced off, Fed chair Janet Yellen announced a stand-pat, no-interest-rate-liftoff policy. Now, I don’t expect presidential candidates to be Fed watchers. But Yellen did raise the issue of a still-soft economy, despite all the QE and zero-interest-rate policies. And I think Yellen was right. There will be a time to normalize Fed target rates. But not yet.

That said, it would have been a good thing if any of the candidates talked about our money. A strong and steady dollar — the world’s unit of account (in theory) — is pro-growth, as we saw in the ’60s, ’80s, and ’90s. A collapsing greenback smothers growth, as we saw in the 2000s.

I would have loved to have seen one or more of the candidates talk about a strong dollar, a rules-based Fed policy, and international monetary coordination. Alas, it was not to be. Maybe we’ll hear about the dollar at the CNBC debate on October 28. But an opportunity was missed on September 16.

Interestingly, on the day of the debate, the Census Bureau revealed another round of stagnating incomes for the middle class. But the words “middle class” and “economic growth” were mentioned by the GOP debaters only four or five times, according to AEI economist Jim Pethokoukis. He laments that Republicans have been missing great opportunities to show a modern vision about growth.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, the director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, lists a slew of important economic issues that weren’t addressed at the debate, including the minimum wage, regulatory policy, education, and alternatives to Obamacare. There were brief mentions of tax policy, with Governor Huckabee slipping in his fair-tax proposal and Senator Paul touting his 14.5 percent flat tax. But there was no room for Senator Rubio to pit his child tax credit against Jeb Bush’s 20 percent corporate tax rate. Meanwhile, Governor Christie spent his economic time on a plea for reducing Social Security benefits. Ugh.

There also was no mention of socialist senator Bernie Sanders, who may be the Democratic frontrunner right now. The Wall Street Journal estimates that Sanders’s Greece-like spending spree would come to $18 trillion over a decade. That’s pretty wild. And it gets the Democrats firmly back as the tax-and-spend party. Sanders at various times has proposed income-tax rates of 70 to 90 percent, but not one Republican blasted his tax-and-spend program at the debate.

Nor did anyone attack Hillary Clinton’s proposal to double the capital-gains tax rate if the asset holding period is not long enough. Her plan is pure anti-growth and anti-risk-taking. It’s just what we don’t need, but no GOP debater took it on.

Jeb Bush does deserve credit for a summary statement that emphasized 4 percent economic growth. He said tax, regulatory, energy, and immigration policy could generate that 4 percent and help solve bottom-fifth poverty and middle-class stagnation. He concluded Reagan-like that strong growth at home would revive American leadership around the world. Good for him.

But one of the reasons why the GOP base is angrily up in arms at the so-called political-class establishment is that nothing has gotten done, even with Republican majorities in the Senate and House.

I thought the House and Senate would pass a broad energy-reform bill that not only includes the XL pipeline, but removes limits on oil exports and drilling on federal land (that would lower gas prices at home and weaken Vladimir Putin’s European stranglehold). But no bill emerged. A bill to repeal Obamacare with an alternative vision? Never happened. A corporate-tax-cut reform that slashes the rate, provides cash tax-expensing for investment, and brings more than $2 trillion back home with a repatriation plan? Never happened. Ditto for immigration reform. Never happened.

And Godfather-like, the GOP now must “go to the mattresses” to stop the Iran deal, which will hand over $150 billion to a rogue country so that it can kill more American soldiers, try to extinguish Israel, and increase its Middle East hegemony. Will it happen? The GOP congressional track record is not encouraging.

The strategy was to put serious bills on President Obama’s desk where he could veto them if he so chose. That would have set the stage for a battle of ideas in 2016. But somehow the congressional leadership lost its way.

There’s time, however, for the GOP presidential contenders. I’d like to hear them tell us how they would solve all these problems if elected president. Doing so might rebrand the Republican party much for the better.

There are 14 comments.

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  1. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Why Don’t the Candidates Ever Talk about Money?

    Excellent question and my answer would be that many Americans have been successfully indoctrinated to think that 1) it is an amoral pursuit and 2) because too many of them don’t have enough of it, believe the system is “rigged.”

    The Donald supporters who currently appear to represent a wide demographic in the GOP (particular emphasis upon the working class) appear to want to talk about it and are anxious to be cut into the deal.

    • #1
  2. BrentB67 Member
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    What did you expect from the CNEnquirer hosting the debate? Is there anyone there that can spell monetary policy, let alone explain it or ask a credible question?

    • #2
  3. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    BrentB67:What did you expect from the CNEnquirer hosting the debate? Is there anyone there that can spell monetary policy, let alone explain it or ask a credible question?

    In other words, money is not exactly a Democrat talking point because their side makes it by relying upon those who don’t to vote for them.

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    I saw Carly Fiorina on MorningJoe in June address the impact Dodd-Frank has had on banks – making the too big to fail even bigger and shutting down lending to small business by community banks, among other points.

    • #4
  5. HeartofAmerica Member
    HeartofAmerica
    @HeartofAmerica

    BrentB67:What did you expect from the CNEnquirer hosting the debate? Is there anyone there that can spell monetary policy, let alone explain it or ask a credible question?

    I’m with you. When the debate is finally not about Donald Trump, then we could hope for a more thorough discussion about the issues at hand.

    • #5
  6. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    Just look at the comment sections on any web site on economic issues,  silence, even on Ricochet, a sophisticated bunch, it doesn’t rock most people’s boats.   Have you ever tried to explain monetary policy and international finance to a normal person?   Few journalists could ask an intelligent question about the economy.  The most they’d know is macro 101, which is all nonsense and they wouldn’t know why.   The candidates are keeping it simple and Carly does it really well.   She associates big government with crony capitalism and corruption and the crushing of the real job creators.  That’s true and something people can understand.  You want more than that?  I want to hear some trash talk about the Fed and macro stimulus and maybe some mention of Hayek, or ordered chaos or as Bush did today organic bottom up growth.

    • #6
  7. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    @John Penfold: Wowser!

    Just look at the comment sections on any web site on economic issues,  silence, even on Ricochet, a sophisticated bunch, it doesn’t rock most people’s boats.

    I don’t think there is exactly a bevy of venture capitalists on this site. Lots of members who can cite religious and philosophical scholars on the nature of greed, but nobody in “the pit.”

    • #7
  8. Could be Anyone Member
    Could be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    To be honest, Marco Rubio has given a pretty good explanation on this issue. The executive branch is supposed to be about dealing with foreign policy and government does not inherently create private business growth. Government is supposed to be about protecting society from external threats or from fraud and coercion in domestic threats. That doesn’t exactly mean determining the proper rate of Federal Reserve Inflation (the right answer is no Federal Reserve).

    So to be honest the whole economic debates should be reserved for those running for senate or house or reps., after all its their constitutional duty to apply government regulations in order to set up a legal network that does not affect production or trade unless it impinges on the rights of another. So lets not give the Presidency more power than it actually was given. Its the left that tries to give all power to one man or a few and hope that he can create the ideal world.

    Also, as others have mentioned, CNN was not interested in economics but the ratings was their predominant goal and The Real Republican Candidates of the Reagan Library was what they were after. They didn’t exactly get it but I thought the debate did a decent job of showing the character of all the candidates, especially given the debate style and the time. It showed the pathetic character of Trump and the other candidates like Kasich and Huckabee that are weak at explaining/defending conservative philosophy/principals.

    • #8
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Larry Kudlow: And I think Yellen was right. There will be a time to normalize Fed target rates. But not yet.

    Gotta keep the donor class Republicans well supplied with money!  Some other time we can cut them back a little.

    • #9
  10. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Why don’t the candidates talk about money?  Because almost none of the voters even understand what “money” is.  The better question might be, why don’t our K-12 schools teach anything about economics?  But, <sigh>, if they did teach economics, it would be Marx and Krugman.  anonymous has it right in #4 – there is really no way out of this mess.

    • #10
  11. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    What you talking about? Tapper had that insightful question about which woman should be on the $10 and they all answered.

    • #11
  12. Pseudodionysius Member
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    If you want to focus everyone’s mind and get it all over with at once:

    “Do you believe that the government funded execution of future taxpayers in the womb is an effective means of reducing the deficit and accumulate debt of the United States of America as well as preventing our over reliance on importing foreign workers?”

    Make popcorn.

    • #12
  13. Pseudodionysius Member
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Eustace C. Scrubb:What you talking about? Tapper had that insightful question about which woman should be on the $10 and they all answered.

    The zinger would have been:

    “Jake, forget the $10 bill, I’m wondering if James Carville and Hillary Rodham Clinton are still harrassed by all those women the VRWC unearthed by dragging $100 bills through trailer parks?”

    • #13
  14. AldenPyle Member
    AldenPyle
    @AldenPyle

    Q: “What are you going to do to shrink the size of government?”

    I am not sure I have gotten a great answer from any of the candidates.

    • #14

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