November 10, GOP Debate Review – What’s in it for kids?

Candidates facing off during the November 10 Republican prime-time debate in Wisconsin were (in alphabetical order):  former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Doctor Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), former tech executive Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich ,Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), and businessman Donald Trump.

Sponsored by Fox Business Network, the fourth Republican debate, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, led with an emphasis on the economy, as did the third debate in October. Moderators were FBN anchors Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto and Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.

Once again we watched to see if specific mention was made by the candidates about how their plans would affect kids and working families. Not all candidates were asked the same questions.

The usual disclaimer applies: While we watch carefully, take notes madly, and check the actual debate transcriptions, we might have missed something or inadvertently misstated something. Please let us know if you’ve discovered any errors or omissions, and please do read the transcripts for additional information.

On to the debate topics:

On a minimum wage increase to $15/hour

Trump would not raise it, citing high wages and taxes that impede our ability to compete in the world. “People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum.”

Carson would not raise it, saying, “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.” He noted this was especially the case in the black community. He’s in favor of a starter wage that doesn’t price the young worker out of a job and all the important experiences that early job provides. “That’s what we need to be thinking about. How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity, rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent?”

Rubio would not raise it, although he does believe that people are working hard and not getting paid enough. His solution is to “make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training.”

Kasich weighed in while answering a question on balancing the budget. Admitting to a moderate increase in the minimum wage in Ohio, he said, “People need help.” He would lower taxes and spending. Further, he maintained “our most important moral purpose as leaders in the political system is to make sure we create an environment for job creation so people can live their dreams and realize their God-given potential. …And for those at the bottom, we’ve got to do what we can to train them so they can move up.”

On income inequality

Moderator Gerard Baker framed the question: “Senator Paul, income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?”

Paul responded “Absolutely,” saying that among the root causes of income inequality is the Federal Reserve action of “keeping interest rates below the market rate,” making it more difficult for average citizens to earn interest and make money.   He’d also like to examine the causes of housing boom and collapse. “But the bottom line is,” according to Paul, “if you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.”

On immigration

Trump, expressed great satisfaction with the recent federal appeals court ruling against the Obama administration’s plan to prevent the deportation of 5 million people living in this country illegally. He reiterated his plan to control US borders with a wall. His plan is to have all illegals leave and apply to return legally.

Kasich responded, “But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico — to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children. So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law- abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay.”

Bush also commented on the idea of shipping out millions of illegal immigrants, saying “to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible. And it’s not embracing American values. And it would tear communities apart. And it would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is….What we need to do is allow people to earn legal status where they pay a fine, where they work, where they don’t commit crimes, where they learn English, and over an extended period of time, they earn legal status. That’s the path — a proper path…”

On reassuring the average worker that his or her jobs are not being replaced by machines

Rubio says “If we do what needs to be done — tax reform, regulatory reform, fully utilize our energy resources, repeal and replace Obamacare, and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy. And we won’t just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And then truly this new century can be a new American century.

On taxes

Carson notes that in his plan people at the poverty level will receive a rebate. He also feels that with economic growth “there will be a lot more opportunities for poor people not to be poor people because this is America.”

Paul’s plan is a 14.5 percent tax rate for corporations and individuals, with “no payroll tax for the employee. The business tax pays for social security, and there would be two remaining deductions — home mortgage and charity.”

Cruz notes that under his plan, a family of four would pay no taxes—income or payroll– for the first $36,000 earned. Above that every American pays 10 percent across the board. Businesses will pay a flat tax of 16 percent.  His plan “eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax, eliminates the corporate income tax, and it abolishes the IRS. Cruz claims that under his plan t “every income group will see double-digit increases, from the very poorest to the very weakest, of at least 14 percent.”

Further, his spending plan of $500 billion in specific cuts would eliminate the IRS and the Departments of Commerce, Energy, and HUD – “and then 25 specific programs.”

Called out by other candidates on his child tax credit, Rubio defended his plan to increase it, saying “it’s expensive to raise children in the 21st century, and families that are raising children are raising the future taxpayers of the United States, and everything costs more. In 35 out of 50 states, child care costs more than college.”

We’ll continue to blog on what the candidates are saying about kids and working families during the debates. Sponsored by CBS News, KCCI and the Des Moines Register, the Democratic debate on November 14the will take place at Drake University and air on CBS at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time. John Dickerson will be the moderator.

Here are some sample tweets:

  • Will @jdickerson  ask candidates ho
    w they will ensure that children across the nation have access high quality early learning and care programs?
  • @jdickerson should ask candidates how they plan on making college affordable so stu-dents of all backgrounds have the opportunity to access higher education?
  • .@jdickerson: Ask the candidates how they plan to close the opportunity gap
  • Will @jdickerson ask candidates if they plan to implement family-friendly workplace policies so parents can earn a living and care for their children?
  • Ask the candidates: What is your plan to make sure that every child is insured and has access to high-quality medical care? @jdickerson

You can also tweet the candidates with your questions regarding the children and families of our country through Twitter:

Candidates’ Twitter Handles:

  • Hillary Clinton — @hillaryclinton
  • Martin O’Malley — @martinomalley
  • Bernie Sanders — @berniesanders

And if you don’t tweet, post on Facebook! Thanks for joining us in our effort to get the candidates to talk about their plans on dealing with issues facing kids and working families.