A week is supposed to be a long time in politics? Not anymore. An hour-and-a-half of debate might well be enough now. Trump had clear momentum and advantage going into the debate and he threw it away only the way Trump can. In fact, according to FiveThirtyEight, a model that "aggregates polling data to tell you who would win the election", predicted that Trump would win if the elections were actually held a day before the debate.
That is an extraordinary swing considering where Trump was a month-and-a-half ago. On 15 August, Trump had a 10 percent chance of winning the election. This was post the Democratic National Convention when he disgracefully took on the family of a Muslim soldier who was killed in the Iraq was in 2004. Anyhow, his chances moved up to 40 percent on 17 September and finally took a massive jump on 25 September hovering around 55 percent. This was unimaginable for a candidate who many thought didn’t even deserve to win the primaries.
It's not because Trump suddenly became Presidential, but he did go from "being totally unacceptable to a being just a terrible candidate". To his credit, he has sobered down from his earlier rhetoric but he was largely helped by his trump card — Hillary Clinton. (Deleted emails, health issues and response to terror attacks.)
And post the debate, mostly due to Trump’s own incompetency, attitude and ego problems, the conversation has moved back to how Clinton is the more balanced, experienced and policy-driven candidate.
All you remember from the debate is how Clinton kept smiling while Trump continued to destruct his own candidacy. Consider the key takeaways post the debate — Trump complaining about his microphone, Trump tweeting about a former Miss Universe’s excessive weight, Trump sniffing probably because he is addicted to cocaine, Trump’s lack of transparency over his tax papers, Trump’s skills as a businessman, Trump’s defense of Putin, Trump’s constant interruption during the debate and finally his explanation over charges of where Obama was born. Yes, it’s the 2016 election and Obama is not even a candidate. What a turnaround within a day, within a few hours.
It’s been more than a day since the debate happened and the euphoria around it has finally settled in. After all, it was the most-watched debate in the entire history of Presidential elections. And while most commentators have rightly called that Hillary won the debate and might eventually win the election, they missed out focusing on a "minor" issue that took place in the debate — the economy. And here is where Trump did better than Clinton.
It's true that both Trump and Clinton sadly agreed on a few issues: that free trade is disastrous and government should back affordable childcare and sponsor debt-free college. Hillary, although, went a step further — calling to make the "economy fairer by raising the national minimum wage and guaranteeing equal pay for women’s work". (Note that Trump has earlier supported to raise the minimum wage to $10 from the current $7.25.)
Hillary also called for companies to share profits and "not just share them with the executives in the top". She demanded for "paid family leave and earned sick days". And how would you pay for all of this? “By having the wealthy pay their fair share and closing corporate loopholes”. (Basically, more regulation.)
And immediately, she became the darling of the Left, while making sure the US economy will remain wrecked in the coming years with this full-proof plan of hers.
On the other hand, Trump sung a different song. He asked for "tax cuts from the current 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses". He argued it would be a "beautiful thing" and a "job creator like we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan". Trump further correctly stated that businesses are leaving the United States because the taxes are too high and cutting tax rates would amount to bringing trillions of dollars and jobs back to the United States.
Remember how the European Union recently ordered Apple to pay taxes to Ireland? Why would Apple enter into a legal arrangement with Ireland of all the places? Lower tax rates. Ireland has a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate compared to 35 percent in the United States. And because of such an arrangement with Apple, Ireland supposedly has "$200 billion" in its treasury. Imagine if the United States brings its tax rates to 15 percent under Trump’s plan, will it not incentivise Apple and other companies to bring back their money and invest in their own country? Will it not create more jobs than just "re-investing in the middle class" or "re-financing college debt" as Hillary proposes?
Thomas Sowell has articulated this position perfectly in his book "Trickle Down" Theory and "Tax Cuts for the Rich". He has argued with evidence that following tax cuts in 1920s, there were "rising output, rising employment to produce that output, rising incomes as a result and rising tax revenues for the government because of the rising incomes". He further argued that these consequences were also somewhat "similar to the rate cuts during John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and the George W Bush administrations".
In fact, the most sensible argument made by him in the debate has been completely ignored by the mainstream media. And amazingly, Trump didn’t stop there. He agreed to cut regulations on businesses and even took on the FED on its low interest rate policies. Sure, Trump is no Reagan or he may not be even a conservative. But what matters to a lot of people is that he is a lot more conservative than what Hillary Clinton is.
Hillary Clinton’s economic policies, if she follows up on her points during the debate, will not be very different from that of the Obama administration. And, Obama, despite his wonderful oratory and inspiring lectures, is the only president to not have seen a single year with 3 percent GDP growth rate within his term, the increase in regulations has supposedly added another $2,294 in costs to every person, national debt increased from $10 trillion to $19 trillion, more people working part-time are looking for full-time employment than ever in the past thirty years. And Hillary with her plans hopes to offer and execute more of the same for the US economy.
Trump has made the right call on tax cuts and regulations and deserves credit. Well, unless, he makes a U-turn again.
First Published On : Sep 28, 2016 16:42 IST