If the previous debate can be called angry this debate could be called boring. In an election where candidates have been trying to gain a foothold to win in one of the early primary states the debate on Fox Business can be labeled as a middling affair with very little separating the eight men and women on stage.
The opening question on minimum wage resulted in everyone stating that a $15 federal minimum wage was a bad idea.
“I would not have gotten those jobs if someone had to pay me a lot of money but what I got out of those jobs is a lot of experience,” Ben Carson said. “That’s what we need to be thinking about, how to ascend them up the ladder of opportunity.”
Sen. Marco Rubio quipped that “if you raise the minimum wage you’ll make a person more expensive than a machine.”
The questions continued with tax policy and economic growth, with questions about how to balance the budget and what tax policies would work best. Most of the candidates agreed with each other on economic policy as well as on tax policy. There were some fights, though, especially on immigration.
A tussle between Donald Trump and John Kasich started over immigration centered on Trump’s desire to deport 11 million immigrants without explaining how he could do it or if it was even practical.
“It’s a silly argument. It’s not an adult argument,” Kasich said when talking about how there needs to be a fine system for those who are law-abiding in the country currently and denying entry with a well-protected border and a return to Mexico for those who try to sneak in. Trump alluded to President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” a program in cooperation with the Mexican government to identify and apprehend Mexican laborers who fled to the United States. The program resulted in over a million deported immigrants in the initial year but dropped dramatically afterwards, with no effect on illegal immigration.
When it came to military spending, Sen. Rand Paul attacked Sen. Marco Rubio on spending, accusing the Florida legislator as not conservative over his defense policy. When he laid out Rubio’s tax and military plans, Paul said, “You get something that looks to me not very conservative.”
Rubio, who has been known for the comeback while keeping his cool, did something similar with an attack on Paul’s national policy.
“I know that Rand is a committed isolationist,” he said. “I’m not.”
Paul did not relent, however, even though he grew more and more as the lone military dove on the stage.
“Can you be a conservative, and be liberal on military spending?” he asked.
Sen. Ted Cruz came to Rubio’s defense saying “You think defending this nation is expensive? Try not defending it.”
Noticeably silent for most of the debate was Carson, who did not interject in the way other candidates did and did not get called on as frequently. But when he did speak, he took command of the stage with his soft-spoken nature in combating allegations of his past throughout the past couple of weeks as well as his policy positions, which was under attack during the CNBC debate.