The Main Stream Media, addicted to drama, fixated its echo chamber on the personal insults hurled between Donald Trump and Marco Rubio after the Great Debate. Too bad. Something really important there happened.
The rest of America may miss it. But not you. Or other Pulse readers. Follow along.
The journalists, at last, presented a lot of really good questions about the Number One Issue on the voters’ mind. What’s that? What most of us want to hear about is he economy, and how to jump start it.
Most of the candidates gave brief — some rote — answers. Ted Cruz, uniquely, gave extensive, thoughtful, and very specific answers. Don’t let the flash of the “horse race” blind you to which of the candidates finally answered Clara’s question — last heard in the 1984 race between Walter Mondale and Gary Hart:
Where’s the beef?
Chris Wallace opened up, with Sen. Rubio:
Well, then, we want to focus now on the economy, which is one of the top issues on Facebook, with 6.6 million people discussing it online. A lot of that conversation is happening here in Detroit, where the unemployment rate is 10.9 percent. … Question. How many jobs have you created?
To which Sen. Rubio replied:
Now, the way you create jobs is you make America the easiest and the best place in the world to start a business or to expand an existing business. If you go on my website, marcorubio.com, you will see a real plan to fix our taxes, to roll back regulations, to repeal and replace Obamacare, not just lines around the states. Serious policies and proposals.
Wallace then pivoted to Donald Trump and grilled him on “how soon will you move your clothing collection, the clothes that are made in China and Mexico?”
To which Mr. Trump replied:
They devalue their currencies, and they make it impossible for clothing-makers in this country to do clothing in this country. And if you look at what’s happened on Seventh Avenue, and you look at what’s happened in New York with the garment industry, so much of the clothing now comes out from Vietnam, China, and other places. And it’s all because of devaluation.
There’s some truth here, but no substance as to how to prevent devaluations. (Hint: the gold standard, as advocated by Sen. Cruz, which there is evidence Trump favors, would eliminate devaluations.)
Wallace then pivoted to taxes, beginning with Mr. Trump: “Mr. Trump, your proposed tax cut would add $10 trillion to the nation’s debt over 10 years, even if the economy grows the way that you say it will. You insist that you could make up for a good deal of that, you say, by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse.”
To which Mr. Trump replied, “Correct.”
Wallace then asked: “Like what? And please be specific.”
Mr. Trump offered up getting rid of the Department of Education’s Common Core, the EPA, and miscellaneous spending cuts.
But, Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your numbers don’t add up. Please put up full screen number four. The Education Department, you talk about cutting, the total budget for the education department is $78 billion. And that includes Pell grants for low-income students and aid to states for special education. I assume you wouldn’t cut those things. The entire budget for the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, $8 billion.
Donald Trump: OK.
Trump then pivots to cutting Medicare’s prescription drug prices.
You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. Sir, that’s the facts. You are talking about saving more money on Medicare prescription drugs…
Wallace then pivots to Ted Cruz, who replies (and later goes into meticulous specifics):
CRUZ: And we will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And what that’s going to do, Megyn, is small businesses are going to explode. We are going to see millions of high-paying jobs. We are going to see wages going up. We are going to see opportunity.
That’s where our focus needs to be. That’s where my focus is. And that is why our campaign is the only campaign that over and over again has beaten Donald Trump to date, and it’s why we are the one campaign that going forward can and will beat Donald Trump in this election.
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, one of centerpieces of your campaign, in fact, you mentioned it again tonight, is that you will abolish the IRS. Question though, who will collect the taxes that you are still calling for? Who will oversee to make sure that people pay the taxes that they rightfully owe? And who will check on the various tax deductions and tax credits that you still want?
CRUZ: So my simple flat tax I have rolled out in precise detail how it will operate where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard. And if you want to actually see the postcard, see all the details, you can find them on our Web site. It’s tedcruz.org.
When he we get rid of all the corporate welfare, all the subsidies, all the carve-outs in the IRS code, it dramatically simplifies it. And under Obama, the IRS has become so corrupt and so politicized we need to abolish it all together.
Now, at the end of that there will still be an office in the Treasury Department to receive the postcards but it will be dramatically simpler.
CRUZ: And let me take a moment, Chris, to go back to go back to this exchange that was going on.
In between all of the insults, let me point out the specificity that was lacking. It’s very easy to say, “Let’s cut waste, fraud, and abuse.” I’ve rolled out a detailed plan to cut $500 billion in federal spending, specifying exactly what I would cut.
WALLACE: Senator Cruz, I know that you have general plans for tax reform, but what specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and train residents of cities like Detroit to do those jobs?
CRUZ: Well, Chris, thank you for that question. Let me start by observing that Detroit is a great city with a magnificent legacy that has been utterly decimated by 60 years of failed left-wing policy.
You know, Henry Ford revolutionized automobile manufacturing and brought automobiles to the middle class. During World War II, Detroit provided — funded the arsenals of democracy to help us win World War II. In — in the 1960s, Detroit was the Silicon Valley of America. It had a population of 2 million people, had the highest per capita income in the country.
And then, for 50 years, left-wing Democrats have pursued destructive tax policies, weak crime policies, and have driven the citizens out. (APPLAUSE)
This city now has just 700,000 citizens. There are vacant homes, one after the other after the other. Crime has been rampant, and it is an outrage. And let me say to folks in the media: That is a story that the media ought to be telling over and over again, the destruction of left-wing policies and the millions who have hurt because of it.
WALLACE: Well, I was going to say, I’ll give you 30 seconds to try to answer my question. What specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit and to train the residents here to do those jobs?
CRUZ: The way you bring manufacturing back to America is, number one, you lift the regulations. As president, I will repeal Obamacare, the biggest job-killer in America.
I will pull back the federal regulators, the EPA and all the regulators that are killing small businesses and manufacturing.
And my tax plan, which is a very, very detailed plan on the website, tedcruz.org, is what’s called border adjustable. We get rid of all the taxes. We get rid of the corporate income tax and the death tax and the Obamacare taxes and the payroll tax. And we replace it with a 16 percent business flat tax that is border adjustable, which means all exports are entirely tax-free and all imports pay the 16 percent business flat tax. That’s a 32 percent differential.
What that will do, Chris, is bring millions of manufacturing jobs back to this country, bring the steel industry back to this country, create an environment where when we compete on a fair and level playing field, American ingenuity can beat anyone. But right now, the federal government isn’t giving us a level playing field.
This is the single moms who are working two and three jobs, 28, 29 hours a week because their hours have been forcibly reduced because of Obamacare. This is the truck drivers and the steel workers and the mechanics with calluses on their hands who have seen their wages not grow year after year after year while the cost of living goes up.
This is all the young people coming out of school with student loans up to their eyeballs that aren’t able to find a job.
And I don’t think the people of America are interested in a bunch of bickering school children. They are interested in solutions, not slogans. It’s easy to say, make things better, make things great. You can even print it and put it on a baseball cap.
But the question is, do you understand the principles that made America great in the first place? As president, I will repeal every word of Obamacare. I will pull back the regulators that are killing small businesses.
And we will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And what that’s going to do, Megyn, is small businesses are going to explode. We are going to see millions of high-paying jobs. We are going to see wages going up. We are going to see opportunity.
That’s where our focus needs to be. That’s where my focus is.
Governor Kasich, who has real credibility on matters of economic growth, gives a rather cursory response to Wallace’s probing:
The reason I did it is when you have commonsense regulations, lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and you have a fiscal plan that makes sense, the job creators will expand employment. And what happened? When I was there, the jobs were exploding. Bill Clinton’s tried to take credit for it. When I went to Ohio, we’re up 400,000 jobs. It’s the same formula.
A presidential campaign is a hiring process. A presidential debate is a lot like a job interview.
We, the voters, are deciding who to hire as president of the United States. We are looking for someone to get the job done. Job One, according to all the polls, is jobs and economy. All of the candidates have laid out proposals as to how to restore economy growth, create jobs, and, among other things, bring down the deficit.
Based on the depth, breadth, and specificity of his answers in the “job interview” held in Detroit on March 3rd, Ted Cruz aced the interview. Getting yourself moving back up the economic ladder into decent middle income affluence and job security may not be your top issue. (It’s most people’s top issue.)
And a job interview doesn’t tell the whole story about an applicant. There are those whose motto remains, for perfectly understandable reasons, “In Trump (or Rubio, or Kasich) we trust.”
That said, Cruz’s presentation of his polices for economic growth at the next-to-last Republican debate lapped the field. Cruz laid it out in depth, breadth, and credibility. Onward to prosperity. That, not the insults hurled, is the “yuuuge” story, the one that matters most to most of of us.
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.