A Minute-By-Minute Replay of the Fourth Republican Debate

A Minute-By-Minute Replay of the Fourth Republican Debate

Julia Biertempfel '16, Editor-in-Chief

Fox Business, partnering with Wall Street Journal, hosted the fourth Republican Debate, with Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, and Editor-In-Chief of the Wall Street Journal, Gerard Baker, asking the questions to the candidates. The Republican candidates that participated in the debate were Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer a question and allowed up to a minute for a follow-up response. The main topic of Tuesday’s debate was the economy, and the debaters would have to explain how they would personally improve the economy if elected president.

Cavuto pulled no punches with the first question, starting with the topic of raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. Trump, who is currently somehow leading in the polls, was asked this question first, and immediately replied that he held no sympathy to those demanding an increase in the minimum wage because the United States falls behind many other countries economically, and no one felt surprised by his answer.

A smattering of applause interrupted Cavuto before he could ask the minimum wage question to Dr. Carson. Dr. Carson said that he does not support the raising of minimum wage because he believes that employment goes down as the minimum wage goes up. Because Carson does not want minimum wage worker to become dependent on their low salaries, he would not raise the minimum wage.

To answer the minimum wage question, Rubio told a personal anecdote about his parents, who worked as a maid and a bartender. He said that, while they were not rich, his parents were able to live out the “American Dream.” Because Rubio thinks that the U.S the is best place to start businesses, tax reforms, and repealing and replacing Obamacare,  he believes that making vocational education easier would be the best way to help people increase their pay, so he does not support the raising of the minimum wage. At the end of his time, Rubio called for  “more welders and less philosophers.”

Bartiromo then moved on to the next question and asked candidates how they would cut federal spending. Kasich said that he has plans to slash taxes, lower the income tax, and lower taxes on businesses so that they remain in the U.S. and do not move overseas. Furthermore, he mentioned that his is the only plan out of all the other Republican candidates’ plans that will bring the U.S. to a balanced budget by the end of his second term. He took a jab at Hillary Clinton, saying that he will be more responsible on the “spending side.” As a follow-up statement, Kaisch said he plans to move the Medicare system growth from seven percent to five percent.

Addressing Senator Cruz, Bartiromo spoke of how the next president may be burdened with an economic recession and mentioned his call for a ten percent income tax and a fifteen percent business tax and asked what other plans he has for the country. Cruz opened with calling the Obama administration a “disaster” and saying that we should not accept an economic growth rate of 1.2 percent a year as the new normal. Cruz plans to change this growth rate through a flat tax of ten percent on every American, through creating 4.9 million new jobs within a decade, through pulling back the “swarm of regulators” he claims is smothering businesses, and through “sound money.”

Bartiromo then asked Bush how he would improve the economy and employment rate. Bush said that tax reform, a sentiment shared with every other candidate so far, and eliminating deductions are the best fixes. He then boldly declared that the U.S. needs to repeal every regulatory law Obama has passed, including the Clean Power Act because the costs “far outweigh” the social benefits.  As a closing point, he then takes a shot at Hillary Clinton, saying that she “gives an A” to policies that have caused one in five children in the U.S. to live off of food stamps.

Moving to the next question, Baker asked Fiorina how, if she wins the candidacy, she will combat the claim that Democrat candidates make more jobs. Fiorina did not really answer the question, instead claiming that mothers are afraid of the futures of their children because, under Democrats, “the government has grown larger, more corrupt, less effective” and has crushed the economic output of the country. The only clear solution Fiorina mentioned before her time ran out was to pass the REINS Act, which would give Congress authority over regulation.

Baker then asked Senator Paul to address the widening wage gap present in the U.S. Paul said that income inequality “seems to be the worst in cities run by Democrats, states run by Democrats, and countries currently run by Democrats,” so it is clear where he stands. Paul also put blame on the Federal Reserve for the loss of the dollar’s value. His answer can be summed up in one line: move to a Republican-run city.

After the commercial break, Cavuto asked Dr. Carson about inconsistencies in the media about attributes in Dr. Carson’s background that have been ignored in Obama’s background. Dr. Carson, temporarily ignoring the question, took the opportunity to call Hillary Clinton a liar. He then said that he is a very honest person concerning his story about a scholarship he was offered.

Bartiromo asked Trump, who recently suggested that we build a huge wall on the U.S.-Mexican border and throw out all the illegal immigrants, about what he thinks of the effect of illegal immigrants on the U.S. economy. As everyone expected, Trump took a firm stand on the “economic drain” illegal immigrants have on the economy and repeated that “a wall will be built.”

Trump dodged Bartiromo’s comment and did not address the economic effect of uprooting five million illegal immigrants. Kasich then pointed out both that Ronald Reagan said that as long as they were law-abiding, illegal immigrants could remain in the country, and how ludicrous Trump’s idea of shipping immigrants away is. Trump countered with Dwight Eisenhower’s achievement of moving over one million illegal immigrants out of the country. Bush then interjected and the debate spiraled into a shouting match. Bush then said that deporting 12 million illegal immigrants (no one seemed to agree on a number) would tear families and communities apart. He added that not integrating illegal immigrants into the U.S. system would go against the country’s values. This was met with thundering applause.

After that tension-filled argument, Baker asked Rubio how he could reassure American workers that their jobs will not disappear in the modern world. Rubio stated that the U.S. loses business because it has the highest business tax rate in the world, a growing amount of business regulations, and a “crazy health care law” that discourages companies from hiring workers. He also blamed the lack of utilizing energy in manufacturing and the outdated, expensive higher education system. Fixing all these problems, Rubio claimed, will expand the American Dream.

Next, Baker asked Cruz about how he will prevent commercials about “grannies being pushed off a cliff” if he raises the retirement age. Cruz said that he does not plan to change the entitlement plans of current seniors but plans to gradually adjust the retirement age of younger workers and have benefits grow more slowly. While this plan may not affect his generation, it would affect the generation of current OC students. Cruz then decided that immigration was clearly not talked about enough and beat the dead horse by saying that illegal immigration should not be condoned, although he did not go so far as to suggest we build a wall on the border.

When asked by Bartiromo how she will alleviate the pressure on small businesses, Fiorina first suggested that Obamacare be repealed because it is “harming the people it was meant to help.” To replace Obamacare, Fiorina wants health care to be taken to the free market so companies will have to compete. In addition to this, Fiorina stated that the government ought to make the health care providers publish their costs, prices, and outcomes so patients know what they are buying.

After another break, Cavuto shifted the focus of the debate to taxes. Dr. Carson endorses a “tithing” system of proportional taxing, which could include taxes of  up to 15 percent of a citizen’s income. He aims to get rid of all the deductions and loopholes people use to tilt taxes in their favor.

Cavuto then introduced Senator Paul into the tax debate, asking him why, while planning to set a 14.5 percent tax rate, he would risk a near-term budget crisis at the start of his presidency. Paul’s tax plan, which also includes cutting one percent across the board and getting rid of the payroll tax, is one of three parts of Paul’s proposed plan to balance the nation’s budget. The only tax deductions that would remain under Paul’s plan are home mortgage and charity.

Cruz added that, in his simple flat tax, families of four would not have to pay taxes on the first 36,000 dollars they make.

Bush next said that, because he plans to shift power away from Washington, simplify the tax code, and to spur economic activity, tax reform would be his “highest priority” if he was elected President.

The Republican debate concluded with some more posturing and a few more questions for the candidates. It was not the success the first debate was hailed as, but it was lively. The question is whether or not the candidates answered any questions with viable solutions, or simply by blustering their way through the verbal sparring matches.