The Fox Business Network, together with the Wall Street Journal, partnered to host the fourth Republican Presidential Primary Debate in Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, tonight, according to Fox News.
Before the 9 p.m. start of the main GOP debate featuring Donald Trump, Ben Caron, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Jeb Bush, an “undercard” debate was held, according to the Washington Post.
New Jersey Governor Greg Christie and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal were said to dominate the earlier debate with an “ongoing argument.”
Jindal has reportedly been part of the smaller Republican debate four times, while Christie took part in the main debates for the first three and was only this time relegated to the undercard. As Jindal took swipes at Christie, the New Jersey Governor was reported to attempt to steer discussion toward beating Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Christie was also noted for appeals to those working in law enforcement, stating that he would offer more support than President Obama has.
“I will go to Washington…. To bring this entire country together for a better future for our children and grandchildren,” Christie was quoted.
Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee also took part in the earlier debate. Huckabee and Christie were said to discuss changes they would make to the tax code, simplifying it greatly. Christie stated that he would change the tax code so that individuals could complete their taxes in “15 minutes.”
Huckabee reportedly described a plan that would eliminate income tax completely and move to a “fair tax” based system collected at retail points of sale.
Going into the main debate Donald Trump held 24.8 percent of Republican voter favor, Ben Carson held 24.4 percent, Marco Rubio captured 11.8 percent, Ted Cruz got 9.6 percent, Jeb Bush received 6.0 percent and Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, and John Kasich received 3.0 percent apiece.
Neil Cavuto, one of the debate hosts, started by calling the economy the “elephant in the room” and explained that discussion of the economy was the main purpose of the Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal GOP debate.
Cavuto’s first question to the candidates dealt with the minimum wage. The host spoke about demonstrators picketing outside the theater where the debate was being held and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 for all employees of New York State. Cavuto asked Donald Trump if he supported a $15 minimum wage.
Trump responded that he did not support a $15 minimum wage because America is being beaten economically by other nations around the globe.
Ben Carson explained that every time the minimum wage is increased, the number of jobless people increases as well. Carson stated that only about 19 percent of African-American teenagers have jobs and that he felt that this is because wages are too high. Carson stated the he wished to teach people how to “ascend the ladder of opportunity” in the United States, without giving people all of the rewards up front, which he feels can make them dependent. Carson specifically stated that he would not raise the minimum wage nationally.
Marco Rubio stated that in the 21st century raising the minimum wage could be a “disaster.” Rubio described higher minimum wages accelerating the move toward automated workplaces. Rubio stated that the best way to raise wages in America is to make the country the best place in the world to do business.
“We need more welders and less philosophers, ” Marco Rubio stated to hoots and applause from the audience.
John Kasich noted that he was the only active serving head of a government on the stage, and that the state of Ohio had undergone a minor increase to wages recently. Kasich stated that he had a plan that could give the United States a balanced budget within 8 years and that he was the only presidential candidate who had such a plan.
“When you balance the budget and cut taxes, people get work,” John Kasich stated.
Kasich then described how Ohio lost 350,000 jobs before he took office and then gained close to 350,000 jobs after.
Maria Bartiromo stated that the IMF has lowered the outlook for global growth and that a recession is forecast by several economists. She asked Ted Cruz what element of an economic plan is most important for creating jobs.
From 2008 until to today, the economy has averaged 1.8 percent GDP growth, according to Ted Cruz, who feels this is a disaster. He outlined a plan for “booming” economic growth and reducing regulations that make it difficult for small business owners to operate.
Jeb Bush was then asked about the participation rate and unemployment rate in the United States and his plans to spur four percent annual GDP growth.
Bush stated his tax plan would cause an “explosion of investment” back into America. He also stated, to applause from the audience, that he would repeal many pieces of legislation enacted by President Obama.
Carly Fiorina was asked how she would respond to the claims that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans. Fiorina spoke about how the U.S. government has gotten “bigger and bigger” and more “corrupt” and that it is “crushing” the possibility of economic growth. Fiorina outlined a five part economic plan that included a three-page tax code and holding government officials accountable.
Rand Paul spoke about income inequality and that it “seems to be the worst” in cities run by Democrats. The Kentucky senator also stated that he feels the U.S. Federal Reserve has made income inequality worse be keeping interest rates “artificially low.”
[Feature Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]