Candidates Talk Sense on Taxes, Budgeting

The fourth Republican debate showed the benefit of whittling down the participants from 11 to eight. The GOP hopefuls brought up themselves what we observed earlier: They agree that any of their tax-cut plans, despite differences on details, is better than the tax-raising proposals of Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

We wish one of the Republicans had pointed out Tuesday that, in 1993, when Bill Clinton was president and Mrs. Clinton his highly influential first lady, taxes were raised. But after Democrats were routed in congressional races in 1994, Clinton joined then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, to cut taxes three times over the next six years, undergirding the late-1990s economic boom.

The debate’s testiest moment came when Donald Trump touted his plan to deport illegal immigrants, most of them to Mexico. He cited how President Eisenhower in the early 1950s moved “1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country.” With the U.S. population about double today, the equivalent would be 3 million - leaving another estimated 9 million still here.

Jeb Bush pounced in his reply, “Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not - not possible. And it’s not embracing American values.” Ted Cruz then responded, “The Democrats are laughing, because, if Republicans join Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose.”

Carly Fiorina brought up “zero-based budgeting” as a way to tame runaway federal spending. It would mean each government department would have to justify all spending each new year. Salon sniped that the same approach was attempted by President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, then abandoned because, “federal Cabinet departments are simply too enormous to devote the time or the resources to such a process every year.”

So federal departments are too big to keep accurate books? Then this actually is a good idea.

Marco Rubio again scored well by emphasizing how he wants to help working-class folks. Ben Carson parried questions about his background. And the most improved performance came from Rand Paul, who replaced a peevish persona with that of a sensible free-market economics professor.

From the Orange County Register

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