I doubt I’m going to get around to doing any more debate posts, but I have a few stray thoughts about the remaining questions that I wanted to blog.
- On the defense budget question, both major party candidates talked about being more discerning with purchases in the appropriations process, but Jake Towne was the only one to say that there’s only so much you can do on that front without disciplining missions and ending our presence in some non-essential countries. He’s absolutely right. US troops are currently stationed in a lot of places where it’s nice to have them, but not critical to our current conflicts or central to our security needs. That’s how you get real savings. We can’t, and shouldn’t, be everywhere.
- On the deficit, all three candidates swore off touching entitlements, including Jake Towne. Failing to deal with entitlement spending doesn’t get you jack shit:
None of the candidates offered a remotely plausible solution to this problem, but especially not Charlie Dent, who thinks we should borrow trillions from China to extend tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
- Answering one of the questions about jobs, Charlie Dent mentioned an idea he supports for a carryback capital gains tax credit that he got from Martin Feldstein, the chairman of the CEA under Ronald Reagan, deficit hawk, and an unrepetant supply-sider. But despite his conservative politics, Feldstein has been a loud proponent of countercyclical deficit spending to stimulate the economy since before the 2008 election, and he is still pushing for more deficit spending to stimulate the economy today. Dent is only paying selective attention to economists who confirm his own ignorant views. If he was actually listening to Feldstein, he’d be calling for more stimulus spending. Instead he’s just cherrypicking proposals that jive with his own incorrect diagnosis of the Lehigh Valley’s economy.