Of all the upcoming GOP Presidential debates, the most important will be the one today in Columbia, SC. The national media isn’t even mentioning this 6-candidate event both mainly because it is not really a traditional debate. But the difference is what makes it more important.
Each candidate—Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachman, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain—is scheduled to appear on stage alone and be grilled by Senator Jim DeMint and Representative Steve King.
The typical debate is typically a showcase for well-rehearsed applause lines. But not this afternoon. I trust that Mr. DeMint will be digging into issues to truly find that “conservative”, small-government candidate. The responses will provide valuable insight into each candidate’s qualifications to be President and fodder for their primary and general election opponents.
I’ll be with the 400 guests invited to attend and will be listening for how each would create the jobs we desperately need.
I expect that we’ll hear more about how shrinking government will unleash a massive growth in jobs even though as Paul Krugman points out the today in his New York Time’s, this economic philosophy is failing.
Although you’d never know it listening to the ranters, the past year has actually been a pretty good test of the theory that slashing government spending actually creates jobs. The deficit obsession has blocked a much-needed second round of federal stimulus, and with stimulus spending, such as it was, fading out, we’re experiencing de facto fiscal austerity. State and local governments, in particular, faced with the loss of federal aid, have been sharply cutting many programs and have been laying off a lot of workers, mostly schoolteachers. And somehow the private sector hasn’t responded to these layoffs by rejoicing at the sight of a shrinking government and embarking on a hiring spree.
And we’ll probably here from the candidates that it is government regulations and taxes that are standing in the way businesses hiring.
But this isn’t what McClatchy Newspapers recently found when they randomly sampled small business owners around the country and reported the results under this heading: Regulations, taxes aren’t killing small business, owners say”.
None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it. Some pointed to the lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath.
I’ll report back tomorrow on what I hear this afternoon. You can watch for yourself on CNN, one of the digital SC-ETV channels and a live stream feed.