Economic Issues in the Democratic Debate

By June 4, 2007Economy

James Pethokoukis of U.S. News has summarized Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate in quick and clear fashion. On productivity, fuel prices and taxation, serious policy proposals were missing. Serious debate was missing. There was a little mentioning, though.

Imagine a Democratic presidential debate about foreign policy where Iraq was never mentioned. That was pretty much the case at last night’s candidate face-off when it came to domestic policy. Little was said about the long-term direction of the U.S. economy and what could be done to make it more innovative, competitive, and productive—the keys to raising our standard of living as we compete with China and India in the 21st century. Out of roughly 20,000 spoken words, mentions of “innovation,” zero; “competitive,” one (Richardson); “productivity,” zero; “trade,” six (Kucinich); “growth,” one (Dodd); “China,” six (Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson); “India,” none; “middle class,” three (Edwards, Clinton); “technology,” three (Dodd, Obama, Richardson).

We’ll check out the Republican debate tomorrow to see if they do any better. (We’ll also defer to Pethokoukis if he does the analysis, given how succinct and on point this one was.)

Of course, there’s one way to ensure the candidates of both parties address these critical economic issues: Devote an entire debate to manufacturing. After all, manufacturing employs 14 million Americans directly and produced $1.6 trillion in wealth last year. Doesn’t it rate?

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

P.S. Transcript of the Democratic debate is here, at the New York Times’ site.

UPDATE (9 a.m., June 5): Legal blogger Seth Borden notes that given the opportunity — a question about their agenda in the first 100 days of office — none of the candidates mentioned the Employee Free Choice Act. Seth then speculates why.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • By your own count, Dennis Kucinich is the candidate who cares most about the economy. He is the only candidate with a plan to bring back jobs to America. It is because the other candidates are weak on this issue that they shy away from discussing it. Did you notice the applause Kucinich received when he called for canceling NAFTA and withdrawing from the WTO? American workers agree.

    Parents and students also agree with Kucinich’s plan to provide college for all.

    Kucinich’s plan about health care provides the most comprehensive coverage and it doesn’t raise taxes. The other candidates want to raise taxes to give the insurance companies profits.

  • Mark Reilly says:

    I did not get to see the debate, but I seemed to recall Kerry, Clinton, Edwards, and Gore talking about competiveness at the global and domsetic level. Seems odd that Democrats (that clearly are also courting labor who generally like to make things here in America) did not talk about these topics.

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