Home Daily Blitz The Debate Revealed There’s No One to Defend Free Enterprise
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The Debate Revealed There’s No One to Defend Free Enterprise

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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks as Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens during their first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The following is an excerpt from MICHAEL WARREN | September 29, 2016 | Weeklystandard.com |

Writing at City Journal, Clifford Asness notes that neither candidate on the debate stage Monday night seemed willing or able to defend free enterprise or conservative economic ideas. "There were many frustrating examples in the first debate of Donald Trump failing even to challenge Hillary Clinton's obvious conceptual whoppers," Asness writes. "Worse, when Trump did attempt a defense, he often cast free enterprise and business in a negative light. Trump simply can't—or won't, because it's not what he truly believes—combat the falsehoods of progressivism, or honestly and skillfully defend free enterprise and business in general."

Here's an example he cites of Clinton's economic ignorance:

Let's start with Clinton's claim that she's going to pay for her laundry list of Bernie-Sanders-inspired new benefits by simply, in her words, "having the wealthy pay their fair share and close the corporate loopholes." We certainly can debate what everyone's "fair share" really should be. But Trump missed the chance to demonstrate the multiple mendacities, direct and implied, in her statement. Most important, he didn't point out that the countries Clinton and Sanders admire pay for the "life of Denmark" (reminiscent of the Obama administration's famous "life of Julia") with far more regressive taxes, looking at the relevant total share of taxes paid, not just marginal tax rates on the "rich," than here in the U.S.A. Honest liberal pundits have pointed out that to achieve the state with the size and scope desired by progressives, they will have to taxeveryone much more, particularly the middle class. No matter what you think about the "fair share" that the rich should pay, no serious person thinks taxing the wealthy alone will pay for a Scandinavian-style welfare state. Purely adding to the tax burden of the rich has never worked at this scale, mainly because there aren't enough rich people to tax (there's a reason we call them the 1 percent or even the 0.01 percent). The middle class, on the other hand, are legion and easily taxed.

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