The GOP and your money; the candidates’ ideas, and what they might mean for the economy

Click to read my story at Grow.
Click to read my story at Grow.

Tonight is the last Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses — the last time voters can hear from candidates before votes that actually count are … counted.  And what are we talking about?  Donald Trump vs. Fox News. That’s sad, because if you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot wrong with America right now, and we sure could use an adult conversation about that.

A politically-minded friend posted recently that tonight’s debate is really pretty unnecessary, as TV viewers have been watching Trump, Cruz, Rubio and company for a looong time now, and the candidates have had plenty of time to stake out their positions.  That’s true, but it’s also true that many Americans have been too busy living their lives, getting their kids dressed for school, and trying to take care of sick parents to watch MSNBC or Fox News for the past year. Those folks are just now orienting themselves to the campaign.  Trump or no Trump, it would be nice for them to hammer away at the issues that matter — like my pet topic, is America’s middle class  about to disappear forever? — and hear what the candidates plan to do about them.

Surprise!  If you spend some time reading about each candidate and picking through their positions, there’s plenty to talk about. This week, for my friends over at Grow, I did my best to write a straight-laced piece explaining the top GOP candidates’ positions on issues that matter to money.   The topic deserves a book, of course, and I had less than 1,000 words. So consider it more of a conversation starter than the last word on the subject.  Below, I offer some links for additional reading, and I’d encourage you to study up.

If you do, I think you’ll find plenty of fodder worth discussing. Jeb Bush has a new, novel plan for dealing with college costs, for example, but you probably haven’t heard a peep about it. (He wants to give kids a line of credit they can use for school, to be repaid as a tiny percentage of income. Read more from Inside Higher Ed here.) I’m also glad Trump has actually talked about getting corporations to pay taxes for money they’ve stashed overseas (though he’s offering them a really sweet deal), and he wants hedge fund managers to pay income taxes on their income (They are “getting away with murder,” he has said.)  On overall tax reform, I find the GOP discussion less interesting, more like a game of Name that Tune. (“I can cut the tax rate to 15 percent! Well, I can cut it to 10 percent! OK Ted, Cut that tax!”)  For most people, federal income taxes aren’t even the real problem anyway — local property taxes are what’s strangling their future.  (Please tell me you’ve heard of Name That Tune, the only intelligent game show ever televised).

So here’s a start on additional reading. There will be more to say soon:

I’m happy to add to this reading list. Feel free to send me other links.

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About Bob Sullivan 1648 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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