Fox Business Network, along with Wall Street Journal, hosted the fourth GOP debate in Milwaukee, Wis. on Tuesday, Nov. 10. The candidates debated policy related to the economy, taxes and immigration.
Both Governors Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, due to low poll numbers, failed to qualify for the prime-time debate and instead were scheduled to participate in the undercard debate that took place hours earlier.
The debate opened with the moderators asking the GOP candidates their stance on raising the federal minimum wage, which currently stands at $7.25 an hour.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has called for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $12. Clinton’s rival, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is pushing for an increase to $15.
GOP candidates voiced their opposition in raising the federal minimum wage, calling it an impediment to national job growth.
Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who is leading the polls along with Donald Trump, said, “Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases.”
Carson expanded on his opposition to raising the minimum wage and even suggested lowering the current wage threshold.
“It’s particularly a problem in the black community,” said Carson. “Only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job, who are looking for one… And that’s because of those high wages. If you lower those wages, that comes down.”
Carson added, “I would not raise it, specifically because I’m interested in making sure that people are able to enter the job market and take advantage of opportunities.”
Senator Marco Rubio followed up Carson on the minimum wage subject, stating that he thinks it could end up speeding automation, to the detriment of minimum-wage workers.
“If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine,” said Rubio. “And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.”
The only GOP candidate on the stage to defend a wage increase was Ohio Governor John Kasich.
“In the state of Ohio—and I’m the only acting executive on this stage today—we do have a moderate increase in the minimum wage,” said Kasich. “I come from a town where if the wind blew the wrong way, people found themselves out of work. An economic theory is fine, but you know what? People need help.”
Rubio and Senator Rand Paul clashed during the debate on spending, specifically defense spending. Rubio has proposed $1 trillion in new military spending. In addition, he said he would restore defense spending to the 2012 level “and begin to undo the damage caused by $1 trillion in indiscriminate defense cuts.”
Paul criticized Rubio’s proposal on defense spending, asking the question, “Can you be a conservative and be liberal in military spending?”
Rubio responded, “I know that Rand is a committed isolationist. I’m not.”
Paul continued to attack Rubio, focusing on Rubio’s plan to extend tax credits for families with children. which Paul said amounts to a new expensive welfare program.
“We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t,” Paul said.
Immigration was where the GOP candidates seemed to be most divided during the debate.
Both Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz advocate for deporting an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who are in the country illegally, while Kasich and Jeb Bush call this impractical.
“For the 11 million people, c’mon, folks. We all know you can’t pick them up and ship them across the border,” Kasich said.
Cruz said Republicans will lose the presidential race if they offer “amnesty” to illegal immigrants.
“We can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law,” Cruz said.
Earlier, Trump had reiterated his promise to build a secure wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
“We are a country of laws,” Trump said. “We need borders. We will build a wall.
Trump explained to remove the 11 million illegal immigrants, he would set-up a deportation force that would act humanely. Trump pointed to history to back up his deportation force.
“Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good president, great president, people liked him. ‘I like Ike,’ right?” Trump said. “Moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border. They came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them way south. They never came back.”
Closing remarks for the night focused on the future and Clinton.
“We cannot let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst secretary of state in the history of our country, win this election,” said Trump.
Republican candidate Carly Fiorina said, “Clinton’s presidency will corrode the character of this nation.”
Kasich said he worried about what would happen if Clinton or Sanders won the presidency.
The next GOP debate is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 15 and will be co-hosted by CNN and Salem Republic in Las Vegas, Nev.
Kevin Harper is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies with minors in political science and journalism. He can be reached at KH818254@wcupa.edu.