Former Governor Jeb Bush (FL);
Senator Ted Cruz (TX);
Governor John Kasich (OH);
Senator Rand Paul (KY);
Senator Marco Rubio (FL);
Gerard Baker (The Wall Street Journal);
Maria Bartiromo (Fox Business Network); and
Neil Cavuto (Fox Business Network)
CAVUTO: It is 9:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 8:00 p.m. here inside the Milwaukee theater. Welcome to the Republican presidential debate here on the Fox Business Network. I'm Neil Cavuto, alongside my co-moderators, Maria Bartiromo, and the editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, Gerard Baker.
BARTIROMO: Tonight we're partnering with the Wall Street Journal to ask questions on the economy that voters want answered. We're also working with Facebook, who tells us that since the first Republican debate, more than 58 million people have joined the political conversation online.
More than 9 million are talking specifically about the economy.
BAKER: The candidates on stage tonight were selected based on their standing in an average of four national polls. Those standings determining their position on the stage. And here they are. At center stage, businessman Donald Trump. [applause]
Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson. [applause]
CAVUTO: Florida Senator Marco Rubio. [applause]
Texas Senator Ted Cruz. [applause]
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Businesswoman Carly Fiorina. [applause]
Ohio Governor John Kasich. [applause]
And Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. [applause]
BAKER: Tonight's rules are simple. Up to 90 second for each answer. One minute for each follow-up response. And if a candidate goes over their allotted time, you'll here this.
CAVUTO: It sounds like a game show but it's not.
Now I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the elephant in the room, and I'm not talking about your party's fine symbol. I'm talking about the purpose of tonight's debate.
The economy and what each of you would do to improve it. No more, no less. We are focused on those issues, and what you have said on those issues in your words and what your opponents have said in their words about your words. That is the agenda tonight. How each of you plans to make America better tomorrow. And so we begin. Candidates, as we gather tonight in this very august theater, just outside and across the country, picketers are gathering as well. They're demanding an immediate hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Just a few hours ago, near Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed doing the same for all state workers, the first governor to do so.
Mr. Trump, as the leading presidential candidate on this stage and one whose tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 a year from paying any federal income taxes at all, are you sympathetic to the protesters cause since a $15 wage works out to about $31,000 a year?
TRUMP: I can't be Neil. And the and the reason I can't be is that we are a country that is being beaten on every front economically, militarily. There is nothing that we do now to win. We don't win anymore. Our taxes are too high. I've come up with a tax plan that many, many people like very much. It's going to be a tremendous plan. I think it'll make our country and our economy very dynamic.
But, taxes too high, wages too high, we're not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum. But we can not do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can't do it.
CAVUTO: So do not raise the minimum wage?
TRUMP: I would not do it. [applause]
CAVUTO: Dr. Carson, you have long bemoaned this lackluster recovery. And this Facebook map show Americans share your concern. The green represents how the jobs issue is resonating all across the nation, especially here in the state of Wisconsin.
You suggested one minimum wage does not fit all, and that perhaps we should offer a lower or starter wage for young people. Those protesters outside are looking for $15 and nothing less. Where are you?
CARSON: Well, first of all, delighted to be here. My family's here, and my little granddaughter, who's three years old, said she wanted to come to the debate. So this is very cool.
As far as the minimum wage is concerned, people need to be educated on the minimum wage. Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.
It's particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one. You know, that — and that's because of those high wages. If you lower those wages, that comes down.
You know, I can remember, as a youngster — you know, my first job working in a laboratory as a lab assistant, and multiple other jobs. But I would not have gotten those jobs if someone had to pay me a large amount of money.
But what I did gain from those jobs is a tremendous amount of experience, and how to operate in the world and how to relate to different people, and how to become a responsible individual. And that's what gave me what I needed to ascend the ladder of opportunity in this country.
That's what we need to be thinking about. How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity, rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent? [applause]
CAVUTO: So, sir, just to be clear, you would not raise it?
CARSON: I would not raise it. I would not raise it, specifically because I'm interested in making sure that people are able to enter the job market and take advantage of opportunities. [applause]
CAVUTO: Senator Rubio, you called the recent Democratic debate in Las Vegas a night of giveaways, including free health care, free college and a host of other government-paid benefits. Since you aren't a fan of all they're giving away, tell us tonight what you would take back.
RUBIO: Well, let me begin by answering both the first question and this one, because they're related. As I've said many times before, my parents were never rich people. My father was a bartender. My mother was a maid. They worked for a living. But they were successful people, because, despite the fact that they weren't well educated and had those jobs, they made enough money to buy a home in a safe and stable neighborhood, retire with dignity, leave all four of their children better off than themselves.
We call that the American dream, but in fact, it's a universal dream of a better life that people have all over the world. It is a reminder that every country in the world has rich people.
What makes America special is that we have millions and millions of people that are not rich, that through hard work and perseverance are able to be successful.
The problem is that today people are not successful working as hard as ever because the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough. If I thought that raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people increase their pay, I would be all for it, but it isn't. In the 20th century, it's a disaster.
If you raise the minimum wage, you're going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that's replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.
Here's the best way to raise wages. Make America the best place in the world to start a business or expand an existing business, tax reform and regulatory reform, bring our debt under control, fully utilize our energy resources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing, repeal and replace Obamacare, and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. For the life of me, I don't know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers. [applause]
If we do that — and if we do this — if we do this, we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans and we will be able to leave everyone better off without making anyone worse off.
CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator Rubio. [applause]
BARTIROMO: We've asked people on Facebook to submit their questions for the candidates. Seth Bell wrote, "We are approaching $20 trillion in national debt. Specifically, what plans do you have to cut federal spending?" Governor Kasich, you have spoken much about your success in balancing the budget under President Clinton. Today the national debt is at record highs and growing unsustainably. Interest will be the fastest-growing part of the federal budget, tripling over the next 10 years. Social Security, the lifeline of millions of American seniors, is rushing toward insolvency. With all of the tax plans presented tonight, estimated to cost anywhere between $2 trillion and $12 trillion over a decade, what specific steps will you take to balance the budget?
KASICH: First of all, let me just say that, in the state of Ohio — and I'm the only acting executive on — on this stage today — we do have a moderate increase in the minimum wage. And I got to tell you, my father carried mail on his back. His father was a coal miner. He died of black lung. He was losing his eyesight. My mother's mother lived with us. She could barely speak English. I come from a town where if the wind blew the wrong way, people found themselves out of work. An economic theory is fine, but you know what? People need help.
Now, I have a plan that, in fact, would cut taxes, but not $11 trillion or $12 trillion that would put my children further in debt. I have a plan that would not only cut taxes, lower the income tax rate for individuals, lower the tax for businesses so businesses will compete here and not move operations overseas, and also a plan — the only plan of anybody standing on this stage to get us to a balanced budget by the end of a second term.
And, you know, the simple fact of the matter is, we hear a lot of promises in this debate, a lot of promises about these tax cuts or tax schemes sometimes that I call them. Hillary and the Democrats promise everything on the spending side. We've got to be responsible about what we propose on the tax side.
Yes, lower taxes, lower spending. My website, JohnKasich.com, will show you exactly how we balance the budget. I balanced the budget in Washington as a chief architect, and I have balanced it in Ohio for one reason. When you balance the budget and you cut taxes, people get work.
And our most important moral purpose as leaders in the political system is to make sure we create an environment for job creation so people can live their dreams and realize their God-given potential. That's why it's so important.
And for those at the bottom, we've got to do what we can to train them so they can move up. But to just look the other way is not acceptable, because, you know what, as the governor of Ohio I have to deal with real challenges, and we've gotten it done in our state, and I will do it for America. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Did you want to name any specific steps, sir?
KASICH: Sure. We would move the Medicare system from a 7 percent growth down to about a 5 percent growth. And I have a whole series of ways to do that. In Ohio, we reduced Medicaid funding for the poor from 10 percent to 2.5 percent, didn't cut one benefit or didn't take anybody off the rolls. Why? Because we're innovators. I've been an innovator my entire career. And I really don't care what special interests or lobbyists have to say. I have a job to do when I take over a public office. Now, we freeze non-defense discretionary for eight years. We also put an increase in defense spending. Our tax cuts balance out. And at the end of the day, we will get to a balanced budget.
And I want everybody here to know, when I was Budget Committee chairman in Washington, I stepped on every toe in that town, and we got to a balanced budget, and we had enormous job growth. And as governor of Ohio, we went from 350,000 lost jobs to a gain of 347,000 jobs.
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
KASICH: I'll do it in Washington. I've done it twice; I'll do it thrice for the United States of America.
BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, the International Monetary Fund recently cut its expectations for economic growth. Many economists expect a recession to hit the U.S. within the next year due to the weakening of manufacturing. The next president will have to deal with it. You say tax reform is a powerful lever to spur economic expansion. You're calling for a 10 percent income tax and a 16 percent business tax. What other elements do you need in this plan to actually create jobs?
CRUZ: Well, Maria, it's great to be with you. It's great to be here in Milwaukee. You know, the question you asked really I think is the most important question any of us can have — face, which is, how do we get the economy growing? How do we bring back economic growth?
Because economic growth, it's foundational to every other challenge we have. As you rightly noted, from 2008 to today, our economy has grown 1.2 percent a year on average. The Obama economy is a disaster, and the IMF is telling us this is a new normal. It doesn't have to be.
If you look at the history of America, there are three levers that government has had to facilitate economic growth. The first is tax reform. And as you noted, I have rolled out a bold and simple flat tax: 10 percent for every American that would produce booming growth and 4.9 million new jobs within a decade.
The second element is regulatory reform, pulling back the armies of regulators that have descended like locusts on small businesses.
And the third element is sound money. Every time we've pursued all three of those — whether in the 1920s with Calvin Coolidge or the 1960s with JFK or the 1980s with Ronald Reagan — the result has been incredible economic growth. We have done it before, and with leadership, we can do it again. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
KASICH: Excuse me.
BARTIROMO: Governor Bush...
KASICH: Yeah, I would like to make a comment.
BUSH: You've already made two comments, John. It's my turn.
BARTIROMO: We have more questions for you, Governor Kasich, coming up. We have more questions for you, Governor Kasich.
BUSH: I got about four minutes in the last debate. I'm going to get my question right now.
KASICH: I appreciate it, Jeb. I'm all of you. But I want at some point to talk about a value-added tax and $11 trillion, $12 trillion tax cuts that will put our kids way deeper in the hole than they have been at this point. So I would like to talk about it at some point, because that's what leadership is.
BARTIROMO: We will — we will certainly get to that. Governor Bush?
BARTIROMO: Almost 40 percent of Americans are without a job and are not looking. Many have given up. That's what the participation rate tells us. You've said your policies will drive the economy back to 4 percent growth, which we haven't seen since the year 2000. What specific regulations would you change? And how will that lead to jobs and growth?
BUSH: First of all, we could get to 4 percent growth. The new normal of 2 percent puts huge demands on government. The reason why we have structural deficits is that more and more people are relying on government and the growth that we don't have makes — makes the deficit grow.
A 4 percent growth strategy starts with tax reform. And the proposal that I've laid out is the one the Wall Street Journal editorial board has said is the most pro-growth of all the proposals out there. We cut the — we eliminate a lot of deductions and cut the rates down. A corporate rate of 20 percent, which puts us 5 percent above — below that of China, and allows us full expensing of investing. It would create an explosion of investment back into this country, creating higher-wage jobs, and so that's part of it.
On the regulatory side I think we need to repeal every rule that Barack Obama has in terms of work in progress, every one of them. [applause]
And start over. For those that are already in existence, the regulation of the Internet, we have to start over, but we ought to do that.
The clean power act, we ought to repeal that and — and start over on that. The waters of the United States act, which is going to be devastating for agriculture and many industries, we should repeal that. We should repeal the rules because the economic costs of this far exceed the social benefit.
And if we're serious about being serious about high growth, then we have to recognize that small businesses right now, more of them are closing than — than are — than are being set up.
Hillary Clinton has said that Barack Obama's policies get an A. Really? One in 10 people right now aren't working or have given up altogether, as you said. That's not an A. One in seven people are living in poverty. That's not an A. One in five children are on food stamps. That is not an A. It may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do, but it's not the best America can do. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
BAKER: Ms. Fiorina, while you've all pointed out how weak the current recovery has been and how disappointing by any historical standards, in the general election, the Democrats will inevitably ask you and voters to compare the recent president's jobs performance.
Now, in seven years under President Obama, the U.S. has added an average of 107,000 jobs a month. Under President Clinton, the economy added about 240,000 jobs a month. Under George W. Bush, it was only 13,000 a month. If you win the nomination, you'll probably be facing a Democrat named Clinton. How are you going to respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans?
FIORINA: Well, first of all, I must say as I think about that question, I think about a woman I met the other day. I would guess she was 40 years old. She had several children. And she said to me, you know, Carly, I go to bed every night afraid for my children's future. And that really struck me. This is America. A mother is going to bed afraid for her children's future.
And the reason she's afraid for her children's future is because we've had problems for a long time. Yes, problems have gotten much worse under Democrats. But the truth is, this government has been growing bigger and bigger, more corrupt, less effective, crushing the engine of economic growth for a very long time. This isn't about just replacing a Democrat with a Republican now. It's about actually challenging the status quo of big government.
Big government has created a big business called politics. And there are lots of people invested in the status quo of that big business called politics. Specifically, we need actually to do five things to really get this economy going again. We need to go to zero-based budgeting so we know where every dollar is being spent, we can challenge any dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar. [applause]
We need to actually reform the tax code. Go to a three-page tax code. Yes, there are plans that would reform our tax code to three pages. In addition to rolling back what President Obama has done, we need to do a top-to-bottom review of every single regulation on the books. That hasn't been done in 50 years. We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation, not nameless, faceless bureaucrats accountable to no one. We've become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws.
And finally we actually, yes, have to hold government officials accountable for their performance. All this has to be done, and the citizens of this nation must help a President Fiorina get it done. We must take our government back. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you. Thank you. Senator Paul, income inequality has been rising in the United States. Fifty years ago, for example, the average CEO of a big corporation in this country earned 20 times the average salary of one of his or her workers. Today, that CEO earns about 300 times the average salary of a worker. Does it matter at all that the gap between the rich and everyone else is widening?
PAUL: Absolutely. And I think that we ought to look where income inequality seems to be the worst. It seems to be worst in cities run by Democrats, governors of... [applause]
States run by Democrats and countries currently run by Democrats. So the thing is, let's look for root causes.
But I would also say — lay some blame at the — the feet of the Federal Reserve. I think the Federal Reserve has made this problem worse. By artificially keeping interest rates below the market rate, average ordinary citizens have a tough time earning interest, have a tough time making money. They're actually talking now about negative interest.
The money as it's created through quantitative easing or other means tends to start out in the big banks in New York. And because we're now paying interest for them to keep the money there, much of that money has not filtered out into the economy. So what we're finding is there is increasing income disparity and income inequality.
We also find that as the Federal Reserve destroys the value of the currency, what you're finding is that, if you're poor, if you make $20,000 a year and you have three or four kids, and you're trying to get by, as your prices rise or as the value of the dollar shrinks, these are the people that are hurt the worst.
So really we need to reexamine whether we not — we want a Federal Reserve that's involved so much in determining interest rates. We also need to look at root causes as to what caused the housing boom and the housing collapse.
But the bottom line is, if you want less income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you, Senator.
CAVUTO: All right. We're only just getting started. Coming up, your taxes. Stick around. You're watching FOX Business
CAVUTO: Welcome back to the Milwaukee Theater and the Republican presidential debate. Let's get right back to our questions.
Dr. Carson, to you. You recently railed against the double- standard in the media, sir, that seems obsessed with inconsistencies and potential exaggerations in your life story, but looked the other way when it came to then-Senator Barack Obama's. Still, as a candidate whose brand has always been trust, are you worried your campaign — which you've always said, sir, is bigger than you — is now being hurt by you?
CARSON: Well, first of all, thank you not asking me what I said in the 10th grade. I appreciate that. [laughter and applause]
CAVUTO: I'll just forget that follow-up there. [laughter]
CARSON: The fact of the matter is, you know, what — we should vet all candidates.
I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with is being lied about and then putting that out there as truth. [applause]
And I don't even mind that so much, if they do it about — with everybody, like people on the other side. But, you know, when I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that no, this was a terrorist attack, and then tells everybody else that it was a video.
Where I came from, they call that a lie. And...[cheering and applause]
I think that's very different from, you know, somebody misinterpreting, when I said that I was offered a scholarship to West Point, that is the words that they used. But, I've had many people come and say the same thing to me.
That is what people do in those situations. We have to start treating people the same, and finding out what people really think and what they're made of. People who know me know that I'm an honest person. [applause]
CAVUTO: Thank you, Dr. Carson.
BARTIROMO: Mr. Trump, a federal appeals court just dealt a blow to the Obama administration's plan to prevent the deportation of 5 million people living in this country illegally. The White House is appealing to the Supreme Court.
At the heart of this issue is the effect that illegal immigrants are having on our economy, what will you do about it?
TRUMP: I was so happy yesterday when I saw that decision come down. That was an unbelievable decision. [applause]
And we don't have enough of those decisions coming down. He of the executive order, because nobody wants to listen to him, including the Democrats, so he just goes around signing executive orders. That was a great day. And, frankly, we have to stop illegal immigration. It's hurting us economically. It's hurting us from every standpoint. It's causing tremendous difficulty with respect to drugs and what that does to many of our inner cities in particular.
And it really is — was such an unbelievable moment because the courts have not been ruling in our favor. And it was a 2-1 decision. And it was a terrific thing that happened.
And I will tell you, we are a country of laws. We need borders. We will have a wall. The wall will be built. The wall will be successful. And if you think walls don't work, all you have to do is ask Israel. The wall works, believe me. Properly done. Believe me. [cheering and applause]
BARTIROMO: Can we just send 5 million people back with no effect on economy?
TRUMP: You are going to have to bring people — you are going to have to send people out. Look, we're a country...
BARTIROMO: So what will you do?
TRUMP: Maria, we're a country of laws. We either have a country or we don't have a country. We are a country of laws. Going to have to go out and they will come back but they are going to have to go out and hopefully they get back.
But we have no choice if we're going to run our country properly and if we're going to be a country. [cheering and applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
KASICH: Maria, can we comment on that?
BAKER: Senator Rubio...
KASICH: Can we comment on that?
BAKER: Yes, one quick comment, yes.
KASICH: Well, look, in 1986 Ronald Reagan basically said the people who were here, if they were law-abiding, could stay. But, what didn't happen is we didn't build the walls effectively and we didn't control the border. We need to. We need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house.
But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico — to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children.
So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law- abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back.
But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can't pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It's a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense. [applause]
TRUMP: All I can say is, you're lucky in Ohio that you struck oil. That is for one thing. [laughter]
Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. "I like Ike," right? The expression. "I like Ike." Moved a 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back.
Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn't like it. Moved them way south. They never came back. [laughter]
Dwight Eisenhower. You don't get nicer. You don't get friendlier. They moved a 1.5 million out. We have no choice. We have no choice.
BAKER: Governor Bush...
KASICH: Jerry, Gerald, it was an attack.
UNKNOWN: If you're not going to have my back, I'm going to have my back.
UNKNOWN: A couple things here. First of all...
BAKER: Governor — Governor, you...You should let Jeb speak.
UNKNOWN: We have grown — we have grown...
TRUMP: No, it's unfair.
KASICH: In the state of Ohio, the state of Ohio, we have grown 347,000 jobs. Our unemployment is half of what it was. Our fracking industry, energy industry may have contributed 20,000, but if Mr. Trump understood that the real jobs come in the downstream, not in the upstream, but in the downstream. And that's where we're going to get our jobs.
But Ohio is diversified. And little false little things, sir, they don't really work when it comes to the truth. So the fact is, all I'm suggesting, we can't ship 11 million people out of this country. Children would be terrified, and it will not work.
TRUMP: ... built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don't have to hear from this man, believe me. I don't have to hear from him.
BAKER: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, you yourself — you yourself said let Governor Bush speak. Governor Bush?
BUSH: Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate. That's really nice of you. Really appreciate that. [applause]
What a generous man you are. Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not — not possible. And it's not embracing American values. And it would tear communities apart. And it would send a signal that we're not the kind of country that I know America is.
And even having this conversation sends a powerful signal — they're doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this. That's the problem with this. We have to win the presidency. And the way you win the presidency is to have practical plans. Lay them out there. What we need to do is allow people to earn legal status where they pay a fine, where they work, where they don't commit crimes, where they learn English, and over an extended period of time, they earn legal status. That's the path — a proper path... [applause]
BAKER: Senator Rubio? Senator...
TRUMP: We have millions of people right now on line trying to come into this country. Very, very unfair to the people that want to come into our country legally. They've gone through the process. They're on line. They're waiting. Very, very unfair to them. That I can tell you. [applause]
BAKER: Senator Rubio, Senator Rubio, let me — let me take you to a question that I think gets to the root of a lot of the anxiety that people have in this country. The economy is undergoing a transformation through information technology. Americans are anxious that the new economy isn't producing higher-paying jobs. Many are concerned that the new wealth seems to be going mainly to innovators and investors.
Meanwhile, with factories run by robots and shopping done increasingly on smartphones, many traditional jobs are just going away. How do you reassure American workers that their jobs are not being steadily replaced by machines?
RUBIO: Well, you know, that's an excellent question, because what we are going through in this country is not simply an economic downturn. We are living through a massive economic transformation. I mean, this economy is nothing like what it was like five years ago, not to mention 15 or 20 years ago.
And it isn't just a different economy. It's changing faster than ever. You know, it took the telephone 75 years to reach 100 million users. It took Candy Crush one year to reach some 100 million users. [laughter]
So the world is changing faster than ever, and it is disruptive. Number one, we are in a global competition now, and several of the candidates have said that. There are now dozens of developed economies on this planet that we have to compete with. And we lose that competition because we have the highest business tax rate in the industrialized world, because we have regulations that continue to grow by the billions every single week, because we have a crazy health care law that discourages companies from hiring people, but because we're not fully utilizing our energy resources, that if we did, it would bring back all kinds of growth, especially in manufacturing, and because we have an outdated higher education system.
Our higher education system is completely outdated. It is too expensive, too hard to access, and it doesn't teach 21st century skills. If we do what needs to be done — tax reform, regulatory reform, fully utilize our energy resources, repeal and replace Obamacare, and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy. And we won't just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And then truly this new century can be a new American century. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you. Senator Cruz — Senator Cruz, entitlements. You've argued for raising the retirement age and reducing benefits for future retirees, but reducing any sort of benefits for the elderly has always been notoriously hard to do politically. When Speaker Paul Ryan proposed replacing traditional Medicare with federally funded private plans a few years ago, a liberal group responded with a commercial that featured a granny being pushed off a cliff.
What's going to be different this time?
CRUZ: Well, my Mom is here, so I don't think we should be pushing any grannies off cliffs. [laughter]
And, you miss-stated what I've said on entitlement reform. What I've said is for seniors we should make no changes whatsoever, for younger workers we should gradually raise the retirement age, we should have benefits grow more slowly, and we should allow them to keep a portion of their taxes in a personal account that they control, and can pass on to their kids... [applause]
BAKER: ...I said for future retirees was your statement... [applause]
CRUZ: I want to go back to the discussion we had a minute ago because, you know, what was said was right. The democrats are laughing — because if republicans join democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose. [applause]
And, you know, I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn't often see it as an economic issue. But, I can tell you for millions — of Americans at home watching this, it is a very personal economic issue. And, I will say the politics of it will be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande.
Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down the wages in the press.
[audience reaction] [applause and cheering]
Then, we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation. And, I will say for those of us who believe people 'ought to come to this country legally, and we should enforce the law, we're tired of being told it's anti-immigrant. It's offensive. [applause]
I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba... [bell ringing]...to seek the American dream. And, we can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law — and I would note, try going illegally to another country. Try going to China, or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do. Every sovereign nation secures its borders, and it is not compassionate to say we're not going to enforce the laws... [bell ringing]...And we're going to drive down the wages for millions of hardworking men and women. That is abandoning the working... [applause]
BARTIROMO: We go back to Facebook. Dewayne Wesley Cato asks on Facebook, how do we get rid of regulations choking our businesses? Ms. Fiorina?
Specifically, under the president's Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer health insurance, or be fined. Many are opting to pay the fine. Others are cutting back employee hours to duck the law altogether. What specific ways will you alleviate the pressure on small business?
FIORINA: Well, first Obamacare has to be repealed because it's failing... [applause]
...it's failing the very people it was intended to help, but, also, it is croney-capitalism at its worst. Who helped write this bill? Drug companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, every single one of those kinds of companies are bulking up to deal with big government. See, that's what happens. As government gets bigger, and bigger — and it has been for 50 years under republicans and democrats alike — and business have to bulk up to deal with big government.
So, we have to repeal it. It's tens of thousands of pages long, no one can possible understand it except the big companies, the lawyers, the accountants, the lobbyists that they hire to protect their interests. Then, we have to give back to states the responsibility to manage a high risk pool. We need to try the one thing in health insurance we've never tried. Health insurance has always been a cozy, little game between regulators and health insurance companies.
We need to try the free market. The free market. Where people actually have to compete. [applause]
And, we 'ought to have the government ensure that you must — and I don't use that term often, that government 'ought to do something, but every healthcare provider 'ought to publish its costs, its prices, its outcomes, because as patients we don't know what we're buying. [applause] Now, let me just say — let me just say, I know more about innovation and entrepreneurship than anyone on this panel because I have led innovative businesses in the most highly competitive industry in the world for decades. The truth is the secret sauce of America is innovation, and entrepreneurship, it is why we must cut our government down to size, and hold it accountable. It's why we have to take our government back, because innovation and entrepreneurship is crushed by the crushing load of a 73,000 page tax code. It is crushed... [bell ringing]
...by regulatory thicket that is so vast we don't even know what's in it anymore. It is crushed as well by government bureaucrats who don't do their jobs very well, and who are not held accountable, which is why I've said we got to take our government back, and to do that, we have to know where every dollar being spent, and be able to move any dollar. We have to hack through this regulatory thicket, repeal so much, but, also, know what's in that regulatory thicket — we don't even know what regulations have been passed.
Third, we need to build a meritocracy — Scott Walker, by the way, is trying now to do in Wisconsin... [bell ringing]...Finally, we need to get to a three page tax code, and, yes, that plan exists.
BARTIROMO: Just to be clear, you want to repeal Obamacare... [applause]..but, what's the alternative?
FIORINA: Sorry, I can't hear you.
BARTIROMO: Just to be clear, you say you would repeal Obamacare...
BARTIROMO: ...But, what is the alternative...
FIORINA: ...You need to give...
BARTIROMO: ...and how does that help small business...
FIORINA: The alternative is to allow states to manage high risk pools for those who really need help. Look, I'm a cancer survivor, OK? I understand that you cannot have someone who's battled cancer just become known as a pre-existing condition. I understand that you cannot allow families to go bankrupt if they truly need help. But, I also understand that Obamacare isn't helping anyone.
We're throwing more, and more people into Medicaid, and fewer, and fewer doctors are taking those payments.
The point is Obamacare is crushing small businesses, it is not helping the families it was intended to help. So, let us allow states to manage high risk pools. Let us try the one thing in health insurance we've never tried, the free market. Let us ensure that as patients, and customers...
BARTIROMO: ...Thank you...
FIORINA: ...that we have information to shop wisely for our health care.
CAVUTO: Alright, thank you. We're going to take a break here. Coming up, a big issue many Americans are facing, taxes. The Republican Presidential Debate continues now, live, from Milwaukee.
CAVUTO: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate live from Milwaukee. Let's get back to the questions. And we want to touch on obviously one of the biggest of this issue in this year, taxes. And this will go to several of you.
One of the biggest economic concerns of course in the country are taxes. Facebook data certainly backs that up. Once again the green on this map that we're going to see here shows how the conversation around taxes is resonating across the nation, especially here in Wisconsin.
First off, Dr. Carson, to you. You say you are in favor of a tax system, I guess akin to tithing, sir, with a flat tax rate of up to 15 percent because you said, if everybody pays this, I think God is a pretty fair guy, so tithing is a pretty fair process.
But Donald Trump says that is not fair. That wealthier taxpayers should pay a higher rate because it's a fair thing to do. So whose plan would God endorse then, Doctor? [laughter]
Yours or Mr. Trump's?
CARSON: Well, you know, when I say tithing, I'm talking about the concept of proportionality.
CARSON: Everybody should pay the same proportion of what they make. You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. You get same rights and privileges.
I don't see how anything gets a whole lot fairer than that. But you also have to get rid of all the deductions and all the loopholes because that is the thing that tilts it in one direction or another. And you have to set the rate at an appropriate level.
Now I will say that, there are a lot of people who say, if you get rid of the deductions, you ruin the American dream because, you know, home mortgage deduction. But the fact of the matter is, people had homes before 1913 when we introduced the federal income tax, and later after that started deductions.
And they say there will be no more charitable giving. We had churches before that and charitable organizations before that. The fact of the matter is, I believe if you put more money in people's pockets that they will actually be more generous rather than less generous. And it's... [applause] ... the money that they earned.
And, the other thing is, I do care about the poor people. And in the system that we're putting together, there will be a rebate for people at the poverty level. But I also want to emphasize the fact that as we get the economy moving, and I hope I get a question about how do we get the economy moving, there will be a lot more opportunities for poor people not to be poor people because this is America.
This is the land of dreams. And our policies should be aimed at allowing people to realize that dream. [applause]
CAVUTO: Thank you very much.
Senator Paul, you said you want to blow up the tax code and start over with an across-the-board 14.5 percent fair and flat tax. You happily offered that it is not revenue neutral and that's the idea. You want to choke off the amount of money coming into Washington.
But don't you risk, sir, creating a near-term budget crisis just as your presidency would be beginning?
PAUL: Well, it's a great question, Neil, and thanks for including me in the tax debate.
I think what's important about the tax debate is, is that we have to ask the question, where is money best spent, in the private sector or in the government sector? I want a government really, really small, so small you can barely see it. So I want lower taxes and much more money in the private sector. [cheering and applause]
My tax plan, however, is the only tax plan among any of the candidates on the stage that is part of a balanced budget plan. I put forward three plans that actually balance the budget over a five-year period.
Each of these plans have details on exactly where we would cut. The question came up earlier, where would you cut? Nobody likes to say where they would cut. I've put pencil to paper and done three budgets that actually balance.
I'm also in favor of a plan called the penny plan where we'd just cut 1 percent across the board and the budget actually balances in less than five years. So I think what is extraordinary about my tax plan is it is in the context of balancing the budget.
What is also extraordinary about my tax plan is it gets rid of the payroll tax. Democrats demagogue this issue to death, and when they do they say, oh, a millionaire would get a bigger tax cut than someone making $10,000.
That's proportionality, as Ben is trying to explain to folks. But the thing is, is if we get rid of the payroll tax, everybody is going to get a tax cut. And this is something that I think the public at large will support and could win an election. [applause]
CAVUTO: There are no deductions on your — under your plan?
PAUL: Ours is 14.5 percent for corporations, 14.5 percent for individuals. No payroll tax for the employee. The business tax pays for social security, and there would be two remaining deductions — home mortgage and charity.
CAVUTO: Thank you, Senator.
PAUL: Thank you. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Senator Cruz, there isn't anyone in this audience or watching at home tonight who would not like to pay less in taxes. Most people just want a fair shake, and they don't want their money to be wasted.
But explain how your plan works. How can you cut taxes as much as you propose without running up debt and deficits?
CRUZ: Well, sure, you put your finger on what the problem is. The current system isn't fair. Washington is fundamentally corrupt. There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible — and — and not a one of them is as good. [laughter]
Every one of them reflects a carve-out or a subsidy, and it's all about empowering the Washington cartel. My simple Flat Tax says that, for a family of four, for the first $36,000 you earn, you pay no taxes whatsoever. No income taxes, no payroll taxes, no nothing.
Above that, every American pays 10 percent across the board — a flat, fair tax. Which means that no longer do you have hedge-fund billionaires paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries.
On the business side, I've got a business flat tax of 16 percent — again, that applies across the board. Right now, with our corporate income tax, giant corporations with armies of accountants regularly are paying little to no taxes while small businesses are getting hammered.
This is fair and across-the-board. Now, you ask, how do the numbers add up? I would encourage folks, if you go to our website, tedcruz.org, we have the specific numbers on the website.
This plan eliminates the payroll tax, eliminates the death tax, eliminates the corporate income tax, and it abolishes the IRS. [applause]
And the effect of that is incredible economic growth. It means every income group will see double-digit increases, from the very poorest to the very weakest, of at least 14 percent.
So if you're a single mom, if you're making $40,000 a year, what that means is an extra about $5,000 in your pocket to provide for your kids, to make ends meet. It has a powerful, powerful effect.
And there's one other really powerful feature of my plan, which is that it's border-adjustable. Which means, if you're an exporter — if you're a farmer, if you're a rancher, if you're a manufacturer, you don't pay the businesses flat tax.
Exports are free of that tax, but all imports pay that 16 percent business flat tax, which means this tax plan would cause jobs to boom, and it would let America compete with China and the world on a level playing field. [applause]
BARTIROMO: But you haven't told us how to pay for it.
CRUZ: Well, the numbers the Tax Foundation had put out is that the static cost of the plan is $3.6 trillion over 10 years, but the dynamic cost of the plan, which — which is the cost that factors in growth, is about $768 billion.
It is less than a trillion. It costs less than virtually every other plan people have put up here, and yet it produces more growth and it's one of the very few plans that abolishes the IRS.
But on top of that, today, we rolled out a spending plan. $500 billion in specific cuts — five major agencies that I would eliminate. The IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and HUD — and then 25 specific programs.
Again, that's on our website at tedcruz.org. You want to look at specificity? It's easy for everyone to say, "cut spending". It's much harder and riskier to put out, chapter and verse, specifically the programs you would cut to stop bankrupting our kids and grandkids.
BARTIROMO: Thank you, Senator. [applause]
Governor Bush, Republican primary voters say tax reform should be a priority for Congress and the administration. But, Governor Bush, how important is tax reform in your domestic policy agenda? Will you guarantee it in the first year of your presidency?
BUSH: I'm gonna fight as hard as I can to make sure that we shift power away from Washington, simplify the tax code, to spur economic activity in this country. Of course it's the highest priority.
If we don't do that, we're stuck with the "new normal" of 2 percent growth. Hillary Clinton says, basically, we just gotta get used to it. Two percent growth means declining income for the middle class. It means more than 6 million people are stuck in poverty than the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated.
It means — it means more demands on government — growing the economy is the first job, if we're going to be serious about dealing with the deficit and debt. And more importantly, people are really struggling right now.
In this economy, the disposable income of the great middle is down 2,300 bucks. So yeah, we've created jobs, your — argue (ph) — brought that up early, and it was a good question. Jobs are being created, but they're lower-income jobs than the jobs that were lost.
And the net effect of this is we need to jump-start the economy. I think of Jonathan (ph) and Reagan Love (ph), who are supporters of mine. Jonathan has been deployed by the National Guard, he is — he's in Oklahoma.
Reagan Love — by the way, pretty great name, I think — is a teacher. When — if they had this tax cut, what they told me was that that $2,300 of money in their pocket — they would go back to South Carolina and start a business.
Imagine what it would be like, instead of having more businesses closed than started, we had it the exact opposite. We would grow our economy, and the government would get the revenue necessary to make things — make things better.
Hillary Clinton's approach to this is more top-down, more regulation, more taxes, more government, and it will destroy our economy. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor.
BAKER: Senator Rubio. Can I just come to Senator Rubio? We're coming to you, Mr. Trump, in one second. I — I promise.
BAKER: Senator Rubio, your tax plan includes a large expansion of child tax credits to raise off (ph) the tax incomes for low-income parents. A similar tax credit that you previously proposed in the Senate was estimated to cost as much as $170 billion a year, according to the Tax Foundation.
Isn't — isn't there a risk you're just adding another expensive entitle program to an already overburdened federal budget?
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 president (sic), 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 — in the country, the family.
PAUL: Neil, there's a point I'd like to make here... [applause] ....Neil, a point that I'd like to make about the tax credits.
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. Thank you. [applause]
BAKER: Governor Kasich? Let me come to Governor Kasich.
TRUMP: No, I'm sorry. No, excuse me. I was there.
BAKER: Governor Kasich.
BAKER: Very quickly, Senator.
RUBIO: Now I get my 60 seconds to respond. He's talking about my tax plan.
RUBIO: So let me begin with this. I actually believe — first of all, this is their money. They do pay. It is refundable, not just against the taxes they pay to the government, but also the — on their federal income tax, it's refundable against the payroll tax.
Everyone pays payroll tax. This is their money. This is not our money. And here's what I don't understand — if you invest that money in a piece of equipment, if you invest that money in a business, you get to write it off your taxes.
But if you invest it in your children, in the future of America and strengthening your family, we're not going to recognize that in our tax code? The family is the most important institution in society. And, yes...
PAUL: Nevertheless, it's not very conservative, Marco.
RUBIO: ... I do want to rebuild the American military.
PAUL: How is it conservative?
RUBIO: I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I'm not. I believe the world is a stronger and a better place, when the United States is the strongest military power in the world.
PAUL: Yeah, but, Marco! Marco! How is it conservative, how is it conservative to add a trillion-dollar expenditure for the federal government that you're not paying for?
PAUL: How is it conservative?
RUBIO: ...are you talking about the military, Rand?
PAUL: How is it conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures? You can not be a conservative if you're going to keep promoting new programs that you're not going to pay for. [applause]
RUBIO: We can't even have an economy if we're not safe. There are radical jihadist in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians. A radical Shia cleric in Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon, the Chinese taking over the South China Sea... [applause] ...Yes, I believe the world is a safer — no, no, I don't believe, I know that the world is a safer place when America is the strongest military power in the world. [cheering and applause]
PAUL: No. I don't think we're any safer — I do not think we are any safer from bankruptcy court. As we go further, and further into debt, we become less, and less safe. This is the most important thing we're going to talk about tonight. Can you be a conservative, and be liberal on military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending, and say, Oh, I'm going to make the country safe? No, we need a safe country, but, you know, we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined?
I want a strong national defense, but I don't want us to be bankrupt. [bell ringing]
CRUZ: ...Middle ground that brings both of these together...
FIORINA: ...Yes, the middle ground is this...
CRUZ: ...Exactly right, that we have to defend this nation. You think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it. That's a lot more expensive. [applause and cheering]
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... [bell ringing] ...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...
BAKER: ...Gentleman, we need to move on...
FIORINA: ...This is why — this is why we must combine, actually, zero-based budgeting with tax reform because unless we can examine, and cut, and move, every single dollar of discretionary spending in the federal government, we cannot reform taxes and reduce spending at the same time.
Ask yourself this question, how is it possible that the federal government gets more money each and every year, which the federal government has been doing, receiving more money every year for 50 years under republicans and democrats alike, and yet, never has enough money to do the important things?
The answer? All the money's always spoken for. All the money's spoken for. So, we have to go to zero-based budgeting, which is a simple idea — by the way, there's been a bill for zeros-based (ph) budgeting... [bell ringing] ...It exists, it can be voted on. Every dollar must be examined. Any dollar can be cut. Any dollar can be cut, any dollar can be moved. We have to go to a three page tax code. You lower every rate, you close every loophole, why? Because the government uses the tax code to decide winners, and losers. You have to strip the corruption out of the tax code to pay for it. You have to know where every single dollar is being spent...
BAKER: ...We need to move...
FIORINA: ...Cut where you need to, and invest where you need to...
BAKER: ...We need too...
FIORINA: ...The two go hand in hand...
BAKER: ...We do need to move on. Mr. Trump...
TRUMP: Please, if I could just...
BAKER: ...Very quick.
TRUMP: We have to make our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before so that nobody messes with us, and a long run, it's going to save us. I agree with Marco, I agree with Ted, we have no choice. And, I can tell you this with certainty. We all have a different tax plan. Some I don't totally agree with.
One thing we understand, each one of those tax plans is better than the mess that we have right now. [applause]
BAKER: Let's talk about — No, no, Governor, I really must move on. I really want to move on.
Mr. Trump, let's talk about the international economy...
KASICH: ...Mr. Baker, everybody got to talk about taxes...
BAKER: ...We really need to move on...
KASICH: ...I think you were coming to me and then...
BAKER: ...No, governor, I promise I will come to you...
KASICH: ...Look, I hate to crash the party to you, Mr. Baker, but, you know, what's fair...
KASICH: ...Yes, sir...
BAKER: ...Mr. Trump, can I ask you about...
BAKER: ...the U.S. just concluded an international trade agreement with 11 countries in the Pacific. You've said that you'd rather have no deal...
BAKER: ...than sign the one that's on the table...
TRUMP: ...It's a horrible deal...
BAKER: ...Most economists — most economists say that trade is boosted growth, and every single post war president has supported the expansion of international trade, including the last three republican presidents. Why would you reverse more than 50 years of U.S. trade policy?
TRUMP: The TPP is horrible deal. It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It's a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It's 5,600 pages long. So complex that nobodies read it. It's like Obamacare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now. And it will be repealed.
But this is one of the worst trade deals. And I would, yes, rather not have it. With all of these countries, and all of the bad ones getting advantage and taking advantage of what the good ones would normally get, I'd rather make individual deals with individual countries. We will do much better. We lose a fortune on trade. The United States loses with everybody. We're losing now over $500 billion in terms of imbalance with China, $75 billion a year imbalance with Japan. By the way, Mexico, $50 billion a year imbalance.
So I must say, Gerard, I just think it's a terrible deal. I love trade. I'm a free trader, 100 percent. But we need smart people making the deals, and we don't have smart people making the deals.
BAKER: The — the deal, as you say, the terms of the deal were published — were published just last week, the details, 5,000 pages of it, and 80 percent of U.S. trade with countries in the Pacific, these countries, these 11 countries, is actually tariff-free, and these — the trade deal only affects the other 20 percent. Which — are there particular parts of the deal that you think were badly negotiated?
TRUMP: Yes. Well, the currency manipulation they don't discuss in the agreement, which is a disaster. If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States — China in particular, because they're so good. It's the number-one abuser of this country. And if you look at the way they take advantage, it's through currency manipulation. It's not even discussed in the almost 6,000-page agreement. It's not even discussed.
BAKER: There was a separate — separate...
TRUMP: And as you understand, I mean, you understand very well from the Wall Street Journal, currency manipulation is the single great weapon people have. They don't even discuss it in this agreement.
So I say, it's a very bad deal, should not be approved. If it is approved, it will just be more bad trade deals, more loss of jobs for our country. We are losing jobs like nobody's ever lost jobs before. I want to bring jobs back into this country.
PAUL: Hey, Gerard, you know, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.
UNKNOWN: True. It's true.
BARTIROMO: That's right. That's right.
PAUL: Before we get a little bit off-kilter here...
BAKER: But isn't that — isn't that part of the problem? When I say, Senator, that if — if this deal is not ratified by — by the U.S. — by the Senate, then it would actually give China an opportunity to grow its economic leadership, which it's been seeking to do? And if the U.S. is unable to take part in this trade deal with these countries in Asia, China will take the lead?
PAUL: There is an argument that China doesn't like the deal, because in us doing the deal, we'll be trading with their competitors. You're exactly right. But I think we've sort of missed the point a little bit here.
There is an important point, though, about how we discuss these trade treaties that I do agree with Mr. Trump on. We should negotiate from a position of strength. And we also should negotiate using the full force and the constitutional power that was given to us. I think it's a mistake that we give up power to the presidency on these trade deals. We give up the power to filibuster, and I'm kind of fond of that power. [laughter]
We give up the power to amend. And I think, really, one of the big problems we have in our country is, over the last century, really, so much power has gravitated to the executive branch. Really, Congress is kind of a bystander. We don't write the rules. We don't make the laws. The executive branch does. So even in trade — and I am for trade — I think we should be careful about giving so much power to the presidency. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you. Thanks, Senator.
BARTIROMO: Coming up, the biggest threats facing the next commander-in-chief. You're watching the Republican presidential debate, live tonight from Milwaukee. We'll be right back.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. The candidates taking the questions you want answered. Also tonight, you can see what America is saying about the debate. Go to Facebook and type #gopdebate into the search box.
Now, back to the questions. Americans face security threats at home and abroad. Last year, terrorist attacks rose 61 percent, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, with the most deaths occurring in just five countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria.
Dr. Carson, you were against putting troops on the ground in Iraq and against a large military force in Afghanistan. Do you support the president's decision to now put 50 special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan?
CARSON: Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that's why they're called special ops, they're actually able to guide some of the other things that we're doing there.
And what we have to recognize is that Putin is trying to really spread his influence throughout the Middle East. This is going to be his base. And we have to oppose him there in an effective way.
We also must recognize that it's a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.
What we've been doing so far is very ineffective, but we can't give up ground right there. But we have to look at this on a much more global scale. We're talking about global jihadists. And their desire is to destroy us and to destroy our way of life. So we have to be saying, how do we make them look like losers? Because that's the way that they're able to gather a lot of influence.
And I think in order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate. And you look for the easiest place to do that? It would be in Iraq. And if — outside of Anbar in Iraq, there's a big energy field. Take that from them. Take all of that land from them. We could do that, I believe, fairly easily, I've learned from talking to several generals, and then you move on from there.
But you have to continue to face them, because our goal is not to contain them, but to destroy them before they destroy us. [applause]
BARTIROMO: We asked Facebook to take a look at some of the major issues we're talking about, and tackling in this debate tonight. This word cloud shows what people are focusing on the most. The bigger the word, the more the talk. One of the most discussed issues in the last month, homeland security. Governor Bush, what is the biggest threat facing America today?
BUSH: It is — I'd say it is Islamic terrorism, and, back to the question of what we are dealing with in Iraq, when we pull back voids are filled. That's the lesson of history, and, sadly, this president does not believe in American leadership. He does not believe it, and the net result is that we have a caliphate the size of Indiana that gains energy each and everyday to recruit Americans in our own country, and the threat to the homeland relates to the fact that we have not dealt with this threat of terror in the Middle East.
We should have a no fly zone in Syria. We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones. If you want to deal with the four million refugees that are leaving Syria because of the devastation there, then we 'ought to create safe zones for them to stay in the region rather than go to Europe. And, that requires American leadership.
Without American leadership every other country in the neighborhood beings to change their priorities. It is tragic that you see Iraq, and other countries now talking to Russia. It wasn't that long ago that Russia had no influence in the region at all. And, so, the United States needs to lead across the board.
This president, and Hillary Clinton both do not believe the United States has a leadership role to play, and we're now paying a price, and it will have a huge impact on the economy of this country if we don't deal with this. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Trump, in 2012 debate, President Obama mocked Mitt Romney's assertion that Russia was the top geopolitical challenge facing the United States, saying he was a Cold War dinosaur. Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia's aggression?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, it's not only Russia. We have problems with North Korea where they actually have nuclear weapons. You know, nobody talks about it, we talk about Iran, and that's one of the worst deals ever made. One of the worst contracts ever signed, ever, in anything, and it's a disgrace. But, we have somebody over there, a madman, who already has nuclear weapons we don't talk about that. That's a problem.
China is a problem, both economically in what they're doing in the South China Sea, I mean, they are becoming a very, very major force. So, we have more than just Russia. But, as far as the Ukraine is concerned, and you could Syria — as far as Syria, I like — if Putin wants to go in, and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.
But, you know that.
But, if Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can't understand how anybody would be against it...
BUSH: ...They're not doing that...
TRUMP: ...They blew up — hold it....
TRUMP: ...They blew up, wait a minute... [audience reaction] ...They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He's going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany — tremendous economic behemoth — why are we always doing the work?
We are — I'm all for protecting Ukraine and working — but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren't doing anything. They say, "Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us..." [bell ringing] ...And we have to get smart. We can't continue to be the policeman of the world. We are $19 trillion dollars, we have a country that's going to hell, we have an infrastructure that's falling apart. Our roads, our bridges, our schools, our airports, and we have to start investing money in our country. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Thank you, sir.
BUSH: Donald — Donald's wrong on this. He is absolutely wrong on this. We're not going to be the world's policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world's leader. That's — there's a huge difference where, without us leading... [cheering] ...voids are filled, and the idea that it's a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? I mean, that's like a board game, that's like playing Monopoly or something. That's not how the real world works.
We have to lead, we have to be involved. We should have a no fly zone in Syria. There are — they are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you're a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you're going to be beheaded. And, if you're a moderate Islamist, you're not going to be able to survive either.
We have to play a role in this be able to bring the rest of the world to this issue before it's too late.
TRUMP: Assad is a bad guy, but we have no idea who the so-called rebels — I read about the rebels, nobody even knows who they are. I spoke to a general two weeks ago, he said — he was very up on exactly what we're talking about. He said, "You know, Mr. Trump? We're giving hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment to these people, we have no idea who they are."
So, I don't like Assad. Who's going to like Assad? But, we have no idea who these people, and what they're going to be, and what they're going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya. Look at Iraq. Look at the mess we have after spending $2 trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place — who I love, OK? All over.
We have nothing. And, I said, keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And, you know what? We should have given the oil... [bell ringing] ..We should've given big chunks to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families, and their sons, and daughters, because right now, you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran, and ISIS.
FIORINA: You know, Mr. Trump fancies himself a very good negotiator. And, I accept that he's done a lot of good deals, so, Mr. Trump 'ought to know that we should not speak to people from a position of weakness. Senator Paul should know that as well.
One of the reasons I've said that I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now, although I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting. [laughter, applause, and cheering]
One of the reasons I've said I wouldn't be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness brought on by this administration, so, I wouldn't talk to him for awhile, but, I would do this. I would start rebuilding the Sixth Fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military — the missile defense program in Poland right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic States so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies... [bell ringing] ...and I might also put in a few more thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure that Putin understand that the United States of America will stand with our allies. That is why Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes. We also have a set of allies... [applause] ...We also have a set of allies in the Arab Middle East that know that ISIS is their fight. They have asked us specifically over, and over again to support them. King Abdullah of Jordan, a man I've known for a very long time, has asked us for bombs and material, we have not provided it.
The Egyptians are asking us to share intelligence, we are not, I will. The Kurds have asked us to arm them for three years, we are not, I would. The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrain's, the Emirati, the Kurds... [bell ringing] ...all of these, I know, by the way, understand ISIS is their fight, but they must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America...
UNKNOWN: ...let me follow up that...
FIORINA: ...we have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it.
CAVUTO: Senator Paul... [applause and cheering] Senator Paul, you have already said, sir, that that would be a mistake in not talking to Vladimir Putin, or to rule it out. You've argued that it's never a good idea to close down communication. With that in mind, do you think the same applies to administration efforts right now to include the Iranians in talks on Syria?
PAUL: I'd like first to respond to the acquisition, we should — I think it's particularly naive, particularly foolish to think that we're not going to talk to Russia. The idea of a no fly zone, realize that this is also something that Hillary Clinton agrees with several on our side with, you're asking for a no fly zone in an area in which Russia already flies.
Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of Iraq. I'm not saying it's a good thing, but you better know at least what we're getting into. So, when you think it's going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you're ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq.
I don't want to see that happen. I think the first war in Iraq was a mistake... [cheering and applause] You can be strong without being involved in every civil war around the war...
CAVUTO: ...Well, then how would you respond?
PAUL: Ronald Reagan was strong, but Ronald Reagan didn't...
FIORINA: ...Ronald Reagan walked away at Reykjavik.
PAUL: ...send troops into the Middle East...
FIORINA: ...he walked away, he quit talks...
PAUL: ...Can I finish...
FIORINA: ...when it was time to quit talking...
PAUL: ...Can I finish my time?
Could I finish with my time?
TRUMP: Why does she keep interrupting everybody? [laughter]
PAUL: Yes, I would like to finish my response, basically.
RUBIO: You know, if I may respond...
PAUL: This is an important question. This is an incredibly important question. And the question goes to be, who do we want to be our commander-in-chief? Do you want a commander-in-chief who says something that we never did throughout the entire Cold War, to discontinue having conversations with the Russians?
I am not happy about them flying over there. But I'm not naive enough to say, well, Iraq has them flying over their airspace, we're just going to announce that we're shooting them down?
That is naive to the point of being something you might hear in junior high. But it's scary...
CAVUTO: But if you're not going to respond in a no-fly zone strategy, what would yours be?
PAUL: The first thing I would do is I wouldn't arm our enemies. I wouldn't arm ISIS. [cheering and applause]
Most of the people who want to the no-fly zone also favored arming the allies of al Qaeda, which became ISIS. That was the dumbest, most foolhardy notion. And most of the people up here supported it. They wanted to arm the allies of al Qaeda. Some of them still do.
That's how ISIS grew. We pushed back Assad, and ISIS was allowed to grow in the vacuum. So the first thing you do is don't arm your enemies.
RUBIO: I need to add a couple of points to this. The first is, I've never met Vladimir Putin, but I know enough about him to know he is a gangster. He is basically an organized crime figure that runs a country, controls a $2 trillion economy. And is using to build up his military in a rapid way despite the fact his economy is a disaster.
He understands only geopolitical strength. And every time he has acted anywhere in the world, whether it's in Ukraine or Georgia before that, or now in the Middle East, it's because he is trusting in weakness.
His calculation in the Middle East is that he has seen what this president has done, which is nothing, the president has no strategy, our allies in the region do not trust us. For goodness sake, there is only one pro-American free enterprise democracy in the Middle East, it is the state of Israel.
And we have a president that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran. And so our allies in the region don't trust us. [cheering and applause]
Vladimir Putin is exploiting that weakness, for purposes of edging the Americans out as the most important geopolitical power broker in the region. And we do have a vested interest. And here's why.
Because all those radical terrorist groups that, by the way, are not just in Syria and in Iraq, ISIS is now in Libya. They are a significant presence in Libya, and in Afghanistan, and a growing presence in Pakistan.
Soon they will be in Turkey. They will try Jordan. They will try Saudi Arabia. They are coming to us. They recruit Americans using social media. And they don't hate us simply because we support Israel. They hate us because of our values. They hate us because our girls go to school. They hate us because women drive in the United States.
Either they win or we win, and we had better take this risk seriously, it is not going away on its own. [cheering and applause]
BAKER: Thank you, Senator.
Governor Kasich, I want to ask you about China, in particular hundreds of American companies have been subjected to cyber attacks from the Chinese military, yet state-backed Chinese companies, growing their presence in the United States, Chinese investments in U.S., which were nearly nonexistent a few years ago, are now over $50 billion. And as my newspaper recently reported, Chinese companies are planning to bid for one of the largest hotel chains in the United States, what would be the largest ever Chinese takeover of a U.S. company. Would you stop them?
KASICH: Let me tell you this, Mr. Baker, in terms of the cyber attacks, we have the capability to not only have a defensive posture, but it also to make it clear to people that if you attack us with cyber attacks, we will destroy the mechanisms that you are using to attack us.
I want to give you a little trip around the world. I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years. In the Ukraine, arm the people there so they can fight for themselves. In the eastern part of Europe, make sure that Finland and the Baltics know that if the Russians move, we move.
In Syria, yes, a no-fly zone in the north on the Turkish border, a no-fly zone on the south on the Jordanian border. Anybody flies in the first time, maybe they can fly out. They fly in there a second time, they will not fly out.
And it also becomes a sanctuary for the people to be. And it also sends many messages in the Middle East that we're still involved.
Saudi Arabia, cut off the funding for the radical clerics, the ones that preach against us. But they're fundamentally our friends. Jordan, we want the king to reign for 1,000 years. Egypt, they have been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East throughout their history.
In the groups — in the countries of the Gulf states of Bahrain, the Cleveland Clinic is opening an operation. Clearly we see the same with them. And in Israel, we have no better ally in the world, and no more criticizing them in public, we should support them.
And finally China, China doesn't own the South China Sea, and I give the president some credit for being able to move a naval force in there to let the Chinese know that we're not going to put up with it any more.
And in the trade agreement, the TPP, it's critical to us, not only for economic reasons and for jobs, because there are so many people who are connected to getting jobs because of trade, but it allows us to create not only economy alliances, but also potentially strategic alliances against the Chinese. They are not our enemy, but they are certainly not our friend.
And finally, I will say to everyone in this room, we have been talking about taxes and economics. When the fall comes, and we run against Hillary, which will be a disaster if she got elected. I have two 16-year-old girls, and I want this country to be strong.
We make promises we can't keep under the bright light of the fall, we will have trouble. We must make sure that economic programs and our military programs are solid. I served in Washington as the chairman of the Budget Committee, and we got the budget balanced.
And in Ohio, as the CEO, and guess what, we have got to have a CEO mentality and a way to beat Hillary Clinton and the Democracies in the fall. And our ideas have to add up. They have to be solid. And people have to know we have the confidence to lead America.
And as president, I will lead this country, as I have before in Washington and in Ohio, and will return both on domestic and international affairs. And I appreciate the opportunity to speak this time, Gerry. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you, Governor. Plenty of opportunities. Thank you.
CAVUTO: All right. And look at the time, look at the time. You are watching FOX Business, we'll take a break. Stick around.
BAKER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate, live from Milwaukee.
Now let's get straight back to the questions, and Governor Bush.
Governor, Hillary Clinton recently said that if we had another financial crisis like the one in 2008, she wouldn't bail out the banks. Would you?
BUSH: We're not — we shouldn't have another financial crisis. What we ought to do is raise the capital requirements so banks aren't too big to fail. Dodd-Frank has actually done the opposite, totally the opposite, where banks now have higher concentration of risk in assets and the capital requirements aren't high enough. If we were serious about it, we would raise the capital requirements and lessen the load on the community banks and other financial institutions. This vast overreach has created a huge problem for our country, and Hillary Clinton wants to double down on that.
I was in Washington, Iowa, about three months ago talking about how bad Washington, D.C., is. It was — get the — kind of the — anyway. We had... [laughter]
It — and I talked to a banker there. This is a bank that had $125 million of assets, four branches. Their compliance costs because of Dodd-Frank went from $100,000 to $600,000 in a two-year period. The net effect of that is — and they had — they had not one loan that went bad during the financial crisis. They knew — they knew their borrowers. They gave back to the community. They were engaged in the community. And imagine America without its community banks. Well, that's what's happening because of Dodd-Frank. That's — that's my worry. My worry is that the real economy has been hurt by the vast overreach of the Obama administration.
And Hillary Clinton, she wants to double down on that. She wants to create even more so. She is a captive of the left of her party to the point now where she is — she was for the trade agreement in — the Pacific agreement. Now she's against it. She was — hinted she was for the XL pipeline. Now she's opposed to it. All the things that would create sustained economic growth she's now doubling down against it.
BAKER: But, Governor, but can I just quickly — did — you can't seriously guarantee that there won't be another financial crisis, can you?
BUSH: You could, if you were serious about...
BAKER: Ever? There will never be another financial crisis?
BUSH: No, I can't say that. But I can say, if you created higher capital requirements, that's the solution to this, not having concentration of assets. The bigger banks now have more and more control over — over the financial assets of this country. And that is the wrong approach to take.
BAKER: Dr. Carson, if I may, just on that point, despite measures taken, as the governor says, since the crisis to make the financial system safer, the major banks in the U.S., many of them are actually bigger than ever. Asset held by JPMorgan Chase, for example, the very largest bank, have increased by nearly 40 percent to over $2.6 trillion. Do you think JPMorgan and the other big banks should be broken up?
CARSON: Well, I think we should have policies that don't allow them to just enlarge themselves at the expense of smaller entities. And certainly some of the policies, some of the monetary and Fed policies that we're using makes it very easy for them, makes it very easy for the big corporations, quite frankly, at these very low interest rates to buy back their stock and to drive the price of that up artificially. Those are the kinds of things that led to the problem in the first place.
And I think this all really gets back to this whole regulation issue which is creating a very abnormal situation. This country was — declared its independence in 1776. In less than 100 years, it was the number-one economic power in the world. And the reason was because we had an atmosphere that encouraged entrepreneurial risk- taking and capital investment. Those are the fuels that drive it.
And what we've done now is let the creep of regulation turn into a stampede of regulations, which is involved in every aspect of our lives. If we can get that out, it makes a big difference. And even for the average person, every single regulation costs money. And it's shifted to the individual.
So — and it hurts the poor and the middle class much more than it does the rich. They go into the store and they buy a bar of soap, it costs 10 cents more, they notice it. And the middle class, when they come to the cash register, have a whole cart full of things that cost 5, 10 or 15 cents more, they notice it. It is hurting the poor.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton won't tell you that that's the thing that's really hurting middle class in the core. They'll say it's the rich, take their money, but that won't help. You can take all of the rich's money and it won't make a dent in the problem that we're having. We have to come back to the fundamental principles that made America great. [applause]
BAKER: But just to be clear, just — just to be clear, then, you wouldn't — you wouldn't favor breaking up the big banks? You think they're big enough — they're OK as they are, as big as they are?
CARSON: I would have policies that wouldn't allow that to occur. I don't want to go in and tear anybody down. I mean, that doesn't help us. But what does help us is stop tinkering around the edges and fix the actual problems that exist that are creating the problem in the first place.
BAKER: Thank you, Dr. Carson.
RUBIO: Can I just add what — he's right on point there. Do you know why these banks are so big? The government made them big. The government made them big by adding thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. So the big banks, they have an army of lawyers, they have an army of compliance officers. They can deal with all these things. The small banks, like Governor Bush was saying, they can't deal with all these regulations. They can't deal with all — they cannot hire the fanciest law firm in Washington or the best lobbying firm to deal with all these regulations. And so the result is, the big banks get bigger, the small banks struggle to lend or even exist, and the result is what you have today.
And in Dodd-Frank, you have actually codified too big to fail. We have actually created a category of systemically important institutions, and these banks go around bragging about it. You know what they say to people with a wink and a nod? We are so big, we are so important that if we get in trouble, the government has to bail us out. This is an outrage. We need to repeal Dodd-Frank as soon as possible. [applause]
KASICH: Let me — let me also say, Gary — Gary, let me also say, Jeb is — what Jeb is talking about with the big banks is to force them to reserve their capital, people who invest it and they hold their capital, so that if the bank goes down, the people who are invested in the bank are the ones that pay. That's what he's trying to say.
Secondly, I'll tell you about Wall Street: There's too much greed. And the fact is, a free enterprise system is a system that's produced the greatest wealth for the world. But you know Michael Novak, the great Catholic theologian, says that a free enterprise system that is not underlaid with values — and we should all think about the way we conduct our lives — yes, free enterprise is great, profits are great, but there have to be some values that underlay it, and they need a good ethics lesson on Wall Street on a regular basis to keep them in check so we, the people, do not lose.
BAKER: Thank you.
PAUL: Gerard, can I comment...
CAVUTO: Senator Cruz — and I will get to you — but, Senator Cruz, on that theme, Facebook data shows that over the last month alone, nearly 1 million people — nearly 1 million — have been concerned about reining in Wall Street, apparently believing that some have not been punished enough.
So, as an accomplished litigator yourself and a former solicitor general, would you go after the very people who believe and fear that Wall Street has ignored, in other words, the crooks that Bernie Sanders say have gotten away with a financial murder?
CRUZ: Absolutely yes. You know, I have spent much of my adult life enforcing the law and defending the Constitution. And the problem that underlies all of this is the cronyism and corruption of Washington.
You know, the opening question Jerry asked, would you bail out the big banks again? Nobody gave you an answer to that. I'll give you an answer. Absolutely not. [applause]
And what we have right now is we have Washington — as government gets bigger and bigger, you know, the biggest lie in all of Washington and in all of politics is that Republicans are the party of the rich. The truth is, the rich do great with big government. They get in bed with big government. The big banks get bigger and bigger and bigger under Dodd-Frank and community banks are going out of business. And, by the way, the consequence of that is small businesses can't get business loans, and it is that fundamental corruption that is why six of the 10 wealthiest counties in America are in and around Washington, D.C.
And let me give you a contrast to Washington cronyism. Some weeks ago, a woman named Sabina Loving testified at a hearing that I chaired in the Senate. Sabina Loving is an African-American single mom who started a tax preparation business in the south side of Chicago. She found a store front, she wanted to have her own business. She started a business.
But then the IRS promulgated new regulations targeting tax preparers. They did it under a more than 100-year-old statute called the Dead Horse Act. Now, this statute and the IRS in classic Washington crony fashion had exemptions for lawyers and big fancy accountants, but Sabina had to pay $1,000 an employee. It would have driven her out of business, and Ms. Loving sued the IRS. She took the Obama IRS to court, and she won, and they struck down the rule for picking the big guys over the little guys.
CAVUTO: Senator...[crosstalk]...Senator, I really want to be clear here. Are you saying, sir, that if Bank of America were on the brink, you would let it fail?
CRUZ: Yes. Now, let's be clear, there is a role for the Federal Reserve — what the Fed is doing now is it is a series of philosopher- kings trying to guess what's happening with the economy. You look at the Fed, one of the reasons we had the financial crash is throughout the 2000s, we had loose money, we had an asset bubble, it drove up the price of real estate, drove up the price of commodities, and then in the third quarter of 2008, the Fed tightened the money and crashed those asset prices, which caused a cascading collapse. That's why I am supporting getting back to rules-based monetary system not with a bunch of philosopher-kings deciding, but tied...
CAVUTO: Sir, I understand that. I just want to be clear, if you don't mind, that millions of depositors would be on the line with that decision. And I just want to be clear. If it were to happen again, for whatever the reason, you would let it go, you would let a Bank of America go?
CRUZ: So let me be clear. I would not bail them out, but instead of adjusting monetary policy according to whims and getting it wrong over and over again and causing booms and busts, what the Fed should be doing is, number one, keeping our money tied to a stable level of gold, and, number two, serving as a lender of last resort.
That's what central banks do. So if you have a run on the bank, the Fed can serve as a lender of last resort, but it's not a bailout. It is a loan at higher interest rates. That's how central banks have worked.
And I'll point out — look, we had a gold standard under Bretton Woods, we had it for about 170 years of our nation's history, and enjoyed booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now.
We need to get back to sound money, which helps, in particular, working men and women. What Washington does — the people who are doing well in the Obama economy are those with power and influence in the Obama government. The people who [inaudible] working men and women...
KASICH: Neil, that's the difference of being an executive. And let me just explain: when a bank is ready to go under and depositors are getting ready to lose their life savings, you just don't say we believe in philosophical concerns. You know what an executive has to decide? When there's a water crisis, how do we get water to the city? When there's a school shooting, how do you get there and help heal a community? When there are financial crisis, or a crisis with ebola, you got to go there and try to fix it.
Philosophy doesn't work when you run something. And I gotta tell you, on-the-job training for president of the United States doesn't work. We've done it for 8 years, — and almost 8 years now. It does not work. [applause]
We need an executive who's been tried, has been tested, and judge the decisions that that executive makes. I don't like what the Fed is doing, but I'll tell you what worries me more than anything else: turning the Fed over to the Congress of the United States...
BARTIROMO: Thank you, governor.
CRUZ: So, Governor Kasich...
KASICH: ...so they can print the money. That would be a very bad approach.
BARTIROMO: Senator Rubio.
CRUZ: ...why would you then bail out rich Wall Street banks, but not Main street, not Mom and Pop, not Sabina Loving?
KASICH: I wouldn't. I wouldn't.
CRUZ: But you just said an executive...
KASICH: No. No, I didn't say that.
CRUZ: ...knows to step in and bail out a bank.
KASICH: They were — they were talking about what you would do with depositors. Would you let these banks shut down?
My argument is, going forward, the banks have to reserve the capital, so that the — so that the people who own the capital start pressuring the banks to not take these risky approaches, Ted.
But at the end of the day...
CRUZ: So you said you'd abandon philosophy and abandon principle...
KASICH: ... I'm gonna tell you this. Let me tell you this. If during — if during...
CRUZ: ...but what would you do if the bank was failing?
KASICH: ...because if during — well, I'll tell you what (ph). CRUZ: What would you do if the bank was failing?
I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down.
CRUZ: So you — you would bail them out.
KASICH: As an executive — no. As an executive, I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people, or the hard-working folks who put those money in those institutions...[booing]... let me — no, no. Let me say another thing. Here's what I mean by that. Here's what I mean by that.
UNKNOWN: Oh, great.
KASICH: When you are faced — when you are faced, in the last financial crisis, with banks going under — with banks going under, and people, people who put their — their life savings in there, you got to deal with it. You can't turn a blind eye to it.
Now, going forward, that's one thing. If you had another financial crisis, perhaps there would be an effort to make sure that we do (ph).
BARTIROMO: Thank you, Governor Kasich.
FIORINA: Can I just — could I just say, as a chief executive who's had to make tough calls to save jobs and to grow jobs, I think what's interesting about Dodd-Frank is it's a great example of how socialism starts.
Socialism starts when government creates a problem, and then government steps in to solve the problem. Government created the problem. [applause]
Government created the problem of a real estate boom. How did we create it? Under Republican and Democrats alike, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, everybody gathered together, Republicans and Democrats, and said, "home ownership is part of the American dream. Let's create a bubble," and then government stepped in — by the way, under president George W. Bush, banks were told — encouraged — told, really — to buy other banks, to take money.
And now what do we have with Dodd-Frank? The classic of crony capitalism. The big have gotten bigger, 1,590 community banks have gone out of business, and on top of all that, we've created something called the Consumer Financial Production Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no congressional oversight that's digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to detect fraud.
This is how socialism starts, ladies and gentlemen. We must take our government back. [applause]
BARTIROMO: More questions — more questions coming up, when the Republican presidential debate comes right back, live from Milwaukee. Stay with us.
BARTIROMO: Welcome back to the fourth Republican presidential debate.
Senator Rubio, Hillary Clinton is the clear front runner for the Democratic nomination. If she is indeed the nominee, you will be facing a candidate with an impressive resume.
She was the first lady of the United States, a U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state under Barack Obama. She has arguably more experience, certainly more time in government than almost all of you on stage tonight.
Why should the American people trust you to lead this country, even though she has been so much closer to the office?
RUBIO: Well, that's a great question, and let me begin by answering it. [laughter]
This election is about the future, about what kind of country this nation is gonna be in the 21st century. This next (ph) election is actually a generational choice. A choice about what kind of nation we will be in the 21st century.
For over 2.5 centuries, America's been a special country, the one place on earth where anyone from anywhere can achieve anything, a nation that's been a force for good on this planet.
But now, a growing number of Americans feel out of place in their own country. We have a society that stigmatizes those that hold cultural values that are traditional.
We have a society where people — millions of people — are living paycheck to paycheck. They're working as hard as they ever have, but they're living paycheck to paycheck because the economy has changed underneath their feet.
We have young Americans who owe thousands of dollars in student loans for a degree that doesn't lead to a job. For the first time in 35 years, we have more businesses dying than starting, and around the world, every day brings news of a new humiliation for America — many the direct response — direct consequence of decisions made when Hillary Clinton was the secretary of the — of state.
And so here's the truth: this election is about the future, and the Democratic Party, and the political left has no ideas about the future. All their ideas are the same, tired ideas of the past. More government, more spending. For every issue for America, their answer is a new tax on someone, and a new government program. This nation is going to turn the page, and that's what this election should be about, and, as I said at the first debate... [bell ringing] ...If I am our nominee, they will be the party of the past, we will be the party of the 21st century. [cheering]
CRUZ: And, Maria, I will note, she's got a lot of experience, but her policies have proven disastrous. If you look at foreign policy, every region in the world has gotten worse. Under her leadership, we abandon the nation of Israel. Under her leadership, radical Islamic terrorism has been on to the rise. Under her leadership, and Obama's leadership, Iran is getting $100 billion dollars, and on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon.
Everything she's put her hand to, or has touched — and when we talk about the cronyism of Washington, Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism... [bell ringing] ...of Washington. And, I'll give you an example of that, which is the Congressional exemption from Obamacare, which is fundamentally wrong, and I'll tell you this, if I'm elected president, I will veto any statute that exempts members of congress. The law should apply evenly to every American. [applause]
CAVUTO: OK, I think it's fair to say you're not fans of Hillary Clinton's resume. Alright, Mr. Trump....
TRUMP: We are not.
CAVUTO: I had a feeling. Perhaps the most successful capitalist on this stage tonight, you've acknowledged that some give capitalism a bad name. You've been particularly critical of businesses that find all sorts of ways of paying their taxes by keeping money abroad, but your own plan includes an incentive to bring — that more the $2 trillion dollars home.
Isn't that, like, a one-time bounty...
TRUMP: ...No, no, no...
CAVUTO: ...Some of the guys you all but call pirates, so they still keep the loot, and pay only a price to bring it back.
TRUMP: Well, what's happening right now, Neil, is something that not been a subject of conversation by politicians. As primarily the only politician, I guess other than Carly on the stage, they haven't talked about a corporate inversion. A corporate inversion — companies are leaving. You know, we used to leave New York to go to Florida. We got better taxes, we got, maybe, something else.
Now, they're the United States to go to other countries. They have trillions of dollars in those other countries. They're going for two reasons, they can't get their money back in. It's something where the democrats and the republicans both agree, it's the only thing I can think of. They both agree, let the money come back in.
Three and a half years, they still can't make a deal. They can't get the money in. It's probably two and a half trillion, but, I think it's much more than that. All of that money could become — could come right in and be used to rebuild our country, and investments in our country. They can't do it. What we have to do, and what I've done, is made the tax rate — and one of the reasons they don't [inaudible] the taxes so obnoxious, they can't do it.
Where, I made it a 10% number, as you know. I've been very highly praised for it. A lot of money's going to come back in, we're going to get rid of the bureaucratic problems, and roadblocks, because that's also a problem. And, we're going to have all of this money pour back into the United States. It's going to be used to build businesses, for jobs, and everything else.
And, as I say, my expression is, let's make America great again. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Senator Paul, you were one of 15 republicans to vote for an amendment which states that human activity contributed to climate change. President Obama has announced an aggressive plan to cut carbon emissions. At the same time, energy production in America has boomed. Is it possible to continue this boom, and move toward energy self-sufficiency, while at the same time pursuing a meaningful climate change program?
PAUL: The first thing I would do as president is repeal the regulations that are hampering our energy that the President has put in place. [applause]
Including the Clean Power Act. While I do think that man may have a role in our climate, I think nature also has a role. The planet's 4.5 billion years old, we've been through geologic age after geologic age. We've had times when the temperatures been warmer, we've had times when the temperatures been colder. We've had times when the carbon in the atmosphere's been higher. So, I think before we — we need to look before we leap.
President's often fond of saying he wants a balance solution, but, really we do need to balance both keeping the environment clean, and we will have some rules for that. We got to balance that with the economy.
He's devastated my state. I say the President's not only destroying Kentucky, he's destroying the democrat party down there because nobody wants to associate with him. So, what we really need is somebody that understands that we do need energy of all forms, and that means we will have solar, and wind, and hydro, but we will still have coal, and we still will have natural gas. And, we've got to have an all of the above policy.
But, it would be a mistake to shut down all of our industries in the coal fields, and shut down the coal power plants. If we did so we're going to have a day where we wake up and some of our big cities are either very cold, or very hot. So, I think it's a big danger, and we shouldn't do it. And, what we should do is say we want all of the above... [bell ringing] ...We want to free up the energy sector, and let people produce, let them drill, let them explore.
BUSH: Maria? [applause]
CRUZ: Maria, critically, when it comes to climate change...
BUSH: ...We've had a 10% reduction in carbon emissions, and it isn't because of Solyndra. It isn't because of the central planners in Washington D.C. It's because we've had a great American success story, the explosion of natural gas.
Taking two existing technologies, and applying it through innovation has created lower carbon emissions, lower energy costs — 40% of all the economic activity in the age of Obama has come from the energy sector, and Hillary Clinton wants to suppress that. We — I think we ought to be expanding this. High growth is the path to lower carbon, and more jobs.
I know for a fact, as Governor of the State of Florida, we created the largest land purchasing programs, and environment clean-up programs because we had a growing economy. Our revenues were growing at 4.4%. It allowed for resources to be able to protect the natural system.
We got to get to a conservation... [bell ringing] ...in environmental policy that goes beyond just carbon...
CRUZ: ...Our — our...
CAVUTO: ...Alright, gentlemen, I know you want to — and I want to, be we also promised to get people home tonight, and we are going to take a quick break here. I think it is fair to say at this juncture that you can discuss these issues, and only business issues, but still keep it interesting. Stick around for these candidates closing statements. [applause]
BAKER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. And now, candidates, it's time for your closing statements. You get 30 seconds each, and, Senator Paul, we will begin with you.
PAUL: We're the richest, freest, most humanitarian nation in the history of mankind. But we also borrow a million dollars a minute. And the question I have for all Americans is, think about it, can you be a fiscal conservative if you don't conserve all of the money? If you're a profligate spender, you spend money in an unlimited fashion for the military, is that a conservative notion? We have to be conservative with all spending, domestic spending and welfare spending. I'm the only fiscal conservative on the stage. [applause]
BAKER: Thank you, Senator. Governor Kasich?
KASICH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders were to win this election, my 16-year-olds, I — I worry about what their life is going to be like.
You know, the conservative movement is all about opportunity. It is about lower taxes. It's about balanced budgets. It's about less regulation. And it's about sending power, money and influence back to where we live so we can run America from the bottom up.
In addition to that, once we have the power and the money and the influence with programs we shift out, that each of us have a responsibility to reach out and to rebuild our families, make them stronger, and connect our neighborhoods. All that together — wealth, connection, family — America's greatest days are ahead. We must win this election. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Carly Fiorina?
FIORINA: Imagine a Clinton presidency. Our military will continue to deteriorate. Our veterans will not be cared for. And, no, Mrs. Clinton, that situation is not exaggerated. The rich will get richer. The poor will get poorer. The middle class will continue to get crushed.
And as bad as that picture is, what's even worse is that a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation. Why? Because of the Clinton way: Say whatever you have to, lie as long as you can get away with it.
We must beat Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton. I will beat Hillary Clinton. And under a President Fiorina, we will restore the character of this nation, the security of this nation, the prosperity of this nation, because as citizens, we will take our government back. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Former Governor Jeb Bush?
BUSH: Jane Horton is sitting with my wife here today. Her husband, Chris, was killed in action in Afghanistan. And Jane spends her time now defending and fighting for military families. They're both heroes.
I don't think we need an agitator-in-chief or a divider-in-chief. We need a commander-in-chief that will rebuild our military and restore respect to our veterans by revamping and fixing a broken Veterans Administration, That's my pledge to you. I ask for your support. Thank you. [applause]
BARTIROMO: Senator Ted Cruz?
CRUZ: Fifty-eight years ago, my father fled Cuba. As he stood on the deck of that ferryboat with the wind and salt air blowing, he looked back at the oppression and torture he was escaping. And yet he looked forward to the promise of America. His story is our story. What ties Americans together is we are all the children of those who risked everything for freedom.
America is in crisis now. I believe in America. And if we get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country, we can turn this country around. I believe that 2016 will be an election like 1980, that we will win by following Reagan's admonition to paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. We're building a grassroots army. I ask you to join us at tedcruz.org. And we, the people, can turn this nation around. [applause]
CAVUTO: Senator Marco Rubio?
RUBIO: Ours — the story of America is an extraordinary story. It is the story of a nation that for over two centuries each generation has left the next better off than themselves. But now, because Washington is out of touch, for the fault of both political parties, for the first time in our history, that is in doubt.
And that is what this election must be about, because if the next four years are anything like the last eight years, our children will be the first Americans ever left worse off by their parents. This election is about making a different choice, about applying our principles of limited government and free enterprise to the unique issues of our time. And if we do, we will not just save the American dream. We will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And the 21st century can be a new American century.
So tonight, I ask you for your vote and I ask you to join us at my website, marcorubio.com. [laughter and applause]
BARTIROMO: He's funny.
CAVUTO: Dr. Ben Carson?
CARSON: In the two hours of this — of this debate, five people have died from drug-related deaths, $100 million has been added to our national debt, 200 babies have been killed by abortionists, and two veterans have taken their lives out of despair. This is a narrative that we can change, not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America, because there is something special about this nation, and we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness. [applause]
CAVUTO: Donald Trump?
TRUMP: Thank you. Over the years, I've created tens of thousands of jobs and a great company. It's a company I'm very proud of. Some of the most iconic assets anywhere in the world. And I will tell you, I don't have to give you a website because I'm self-funding my campaign. I'm putting up my own money.
I want to do something really special. I want to make our country greater than it's ever been. I think we have that potential. We cannot lose this election. We cannot let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst secretary of state in the history of our country, win this election.
We will fight. We will win. And we truly will make this even more special. We have to make it better than ever before. And I will tell you, the United States can actually be better than ever before. Thank you.
CAVUTO: Candidates, we want to thank you all. We also appreciate your helping save time by talking over one another at times. That was welcomed. But by all means, it was a very riveting debate. Business issues can be — can be riveting, because it wasn't about us, it's about them.
BARTIROMO: Thank you.
CAVUTO: That'll do it. Thank you for joining us.