Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator for Texas Ted Cruz ’92 and New Jersey governor Chris Christie discussed government responsibility, tax reform and climate change at the Republican debate hosted by CNBC on Wednesday.
Cruz garnered attention on social media for attacking the CNBC moderators, saying that they were more interested in “cage match[es]” than policy issues and that their behavior demonstrates why so many Americans distrust the media. He added that by contrast, the media fawned over the Democratic candidates during their debate.
“The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate,” Cruz said. “That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.”
CNBC debate moderators were John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla.
Christie said during the debate that the government has stolen from and lied to the American people about Social Security. He said that while the government has told Americans their Social Security money is in a trust fund, the trust fund only contains IOUs for money the government spent a long time ago.
Christie added that he, unlike many of his political contemporaries, hasa plan for managing entitlements and that former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wants to increase Social Security taxes.
“This is for the guy, you know, who owns a landscaping business out there,” Christie said. “If someone’s already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more?”
Christie is also an ex officio member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Cruz said that he agrees legislators in Washington need to honor promises made to seniors, but he added that younger workers feel that Social Security will not there for them in the future.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said that while politicians have lied to the American people about Social Security, one particular thing they haven’t mentioned is that Social Security money is the American people’s money, and the government has no business stealing from them.
Christie said thatif he became president, he would make an attorney general who would enforce the law more strictly and “make justice more than just a word.” He noted that during the Obama administration, General Motors was not prosecuted for an ignition switch defect that resulted in 124 deaths.
“The fact is that this Justice Department under this president has been a political Justice Department,” Christie said.“It has been a Justice Department that decided that they want to pick who the winners and losers are.”
Noting that he is proposing the lowest personal tax rate of any of the candidates on the stage, Cruz said that the Tax Foundation has shown that his plan will help the economy make 4.9 million jobs, increase wages over 12 percent and stimulate 14 percent growth.
“Growth is the answer,” Cruz said. “And as Reagan demonstrated, if we cut taxes, we can bring back growth.”
Other candidates also discussed their tax plans. Former neurosurgeon Ben Carson said that he would create a proportional tax system based on tithing, where everyone would pay a flat tax of about 15 percent on their income and deductions and loopholes would be eliminated. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said that the tax code, which is currently around 73,000 pages, should be cut down to around three.
When moderator Harwood noted that Christie, unlike many of his Republican colleagues, has said that climate change is undeniable, Christie said that the government should address climate change by investing in energy because doing so would make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals.
Government intervention and government taxes, he said, are not the solution.
“For God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they’re already sending there,” Christie said.
Other candidates were real estate magnate Donald Trump, U.S. Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul, U.S. Senator for Florida Marco Rubio, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio governor John Kasich.
The CNBC debate for less popular candidates at 6 p.m. featured Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, U.S. Senator for South Carolina Lindsey Graham, former U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania Rick Santorum and former New York governor George Pataki.
The debate, hosted by the University of Colorado Boulder, began at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.