Just like in the earlier debate, the moderators on the Fox Business primetime debate stayed clear of the spotlight for the most part, allowing the candidates to be the story last night. They had much to talk about: cutting spending, lowering taxes, repealing Obamacare, creating jobs and cutting back on regulations. It was truly a debate focused on the economy.
But one theme shone through, tying it all together: the family. In the earlier debate it was brought out by Sen. Santorum; in primetime, it was Sen. Marco Rubio:
RUBIO: The most important job I’m ever going to have, the most important job anyone in this room will ever have, is the job of being a parent. Not the job of being president, or the job of being a senator, or the job of being a congressman.
The most important job any of us will ever do is the job of being a [parent], because the most important institution in society is the family. If the family breaks down, society breaks down.
You can’t have a strong nation without strong values, and no one is born with strong values. They have to be taught to you in strong families and reinforced in you in strong communities.
And so when we set out to do tax reform, we endeavor to have a pro-family tax code, and we endeavor to do it because we know how difficult it is for families in the 21st century to afford the cost of living.
It is 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.
There are millions of people watching this broadcast tonight that understand exactly what I’m talking about. They don’t know how they’re going to make that payment every month, and if they can’t make it, they can’t work, because someone needs to watch their kids during the day. They don’t know how they’re going to save for their kids’ future, to go to college.
And so, yes, I have a child tax credit increase, and I’m proud of it. I am proud that I have a pro-family tax code, because the pro- family tax plan I have will strengthen the most important institution in the country, the family.
Unfortunately, the conversation drifted away from the importance of the family as the first economic unit, so indispensable to economic recovery, as Sen. Paul attacked Sen. Rubio on how he was going to pay for his idea and shifted to military spending.
PAUL: We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t conservative. Is it fiscally conservative to have a trillion-dollar expenditure? We’re not talking about giving people back their tax money. He’s talking about giving people money they didn’t pay. It’s a welfare transfer payment.
So here’s what we have. Is it conservative to have $1 trillion in transfer payments — a new welfare program that’s a refundable tax credit? Add that to Marco’s plan for $1 trillion in new military spending, and you get something that looks, to me, not very conservative.
Sen. Rubio and Paul had a somewhat heated exchange after Rubio called Paul an “isolationist” when it comes to the military because Paul proposed significant cuts to the military. Sen. Ted Cruz sided with Rubio on making military and the family strong, suggesting he has a plan to make significant cuts to the size of government in order to pay for efforts in these vital areas.
CRUZ: [W]e have to defend this nation. You think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it. That’s a lot more expensive.
But, you can do that and pay for it. You can do that and also be fiscally responsible. You know, I mention that the 25 programs that I put today, that I would eliminate them. Among them are corporate welfare, like sugar subsidies. Let’s take that as an example. Sugar subsidies. Sugar farmers farm under roughly 0.2% of the farmland in America, and yet they give 40% of the lobbying money. That sort of corporate welfare is why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids. I would end those subsidies to pay for defending this nation …
Though thankful that the issue of the family was brought up, it is clear not enough time has been devoted to discussing the family unit when it comes to the economy. At least that’s the case for most of the candidates in both parties. So we call on them to articulate a robust, serious, thoughtful policy to strengthen the family unit, since as we have said before, it is the building block of the big picture ideas of which they are so fond of talking.