Here’s the Worst Thing About Last Night’s Debate
Unless you’re a hardcore Trumpie, you probably thought that Clinton won the debate. Sure, Trump did a little better in the earlier trade discussion, but Clinton did much better later on and has had far more favorable coverage today. Online flash polls had Trump ahead last night, but focus groups and the media have given the win to Clinton.
But here is a sobering point to free-market supply siders like myself. The part of the debate that Trump ‘won’ was the part about the issue he’s most wrong about. Larry Kudlow and Steve Moore and other supply siders have staked a lot on Trump’s supply side platform. But they wrote it, not him, and he reads what they write. He has almost no core passion about domestic tax cuts and deregulation.
He can put her on the defensive about trade so well because that’s the part of his platform which he actually believes in! The rest is optional. He comes alive when he talks about how bad NAFTA is. His economic policy team, which he chose, has more protectionists than it does supply siders.
Supply siders should not stake the credibility of their ideas on such a bruised reed. If principled conservatives have to hold their noses and vote for Trump because she’s so much worse, fine, but then don’t pretend everything smells like roses. Be honest in advance with yourselves and with others about the fact that this is a compromise under a situation of bad choice vs. worse choice.
If I’m going to be an honest analyst, I can’t out of partisan loyalty ignore the risk which this presents: trade wars are incredibly economically destructive. They’re popular at the beginning, but they’re deadly to growth. And if he wins and starts one and causes a severe contraction, then free market thought will be blamed, just as it was in 1932 when Hoover’s protectionist-caused depression was blamed on capitalism by FDR.
Jerry Bowyer is a Forbes contributor, contributing editor of AffluentInvestor.com, and Senior Fellow in Business Economics at The Center for Cultural Leadership.
Jerry has compiled an impressive record as a leading thinker in finance and economics. He worked as an auditor and a tax consultant with Arthur Anderson, as Vice President of the Beechwood Company which is the family office associated with Federated Investors, and has consulted in various privatization efforts for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. He founded the influential economic think tank, the Allegheny Institute, and has lectured extensively at universities, businesses and civic groups.
Jerry has been a member of three investment committees, among which is Benchmark Financial, Pittsburgh’s largest financial services firm. Jerry had been a regular commentator on Fox Business News and Fox News. He was formerly a CNBC Contributor, has guest-hosted “The Kudlow Report”, and has written for CNBC.com, National Review Online, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many other publications. He is the author of The Bush Boom and more recently The Free Market Capitalist’s Survival Guide, published by HarperCollins. Jerry is the President of Bowyer Research.
Jerry consulted extensively with the Bush White House on matters pertaining to the recent economic crisis. He has been quoted in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, The International Herald Tribune and various local newspapers. He has been a contributing editor of National Review Online, The New York Sun and Townhall Magazine. Jerry has hosted daily radio and TV programs and was one of the founding members of WQED’s On-Q Friday Roundtable. He has guest-hosted the Bill Bennett radio program as well as radio programs in Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Jerry is the former host of WorldView, a nationally syndicated Sunday-morning political talk show created on the model of Meet The Press. On WorldView, Jerry interviewed distinguished guests including the Vice President, Treasury Secretary, HUD Secretary, former Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice, former Presidential Advisor Carl Rove, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and publisher Steve Forbes.
Jerry has taught social ethics at Ottawa Theological Hall, public policy at Saint Vincent’s College, and guest lectured at Carnegie Mellon’s graduate Heinz School of Public Policy. In 1997 Jerry gave the commencement address at his alma mater, Robert Morris University. He was the youngest speaker in the history of the school, and the school received more requests for transcripts of Jerry’s speech than at any other time in its 120-year history.
Jerry lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Susan, and the youngest three of their seven children.
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