NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

NCPA Statement on Vice Presidential Debate

October 5, 2016

Last night's Vice Presidential debate proved to be one of measurable national security ideas, with both candidates taking advantage of the debate stage to elaborate on their running mates' respective foreign policy strategy. Though the candidates defined "American strength" differently, both argued for a strong U.S. presence globally. Both candidates also supported an improved military, but Kaine failed to articulate how this can be achieved with Clinton's plan to increase domestic spending. Our work has shown that the government spends enough, and that it's the wisdom behind the spending remains the problem. Kaine wanted to extend the current administration's largely failing strategy with ISIS, while Pence suggested a more aggressive approach. Kaine's claims of the "success" of the Iran deal, the decrease in terrorism "in some ways" and the reset with Russia, all touted as achievements by Kaine, were demonstrably false.

While Senator Kaine and Governor Pence touched on domestic economic policy, there were many missed opportunities to address the respective campaigns' vision and direction for the American economy. As it relates to topics such as capital investment, job creation, economic growth and entitlement reform, we learned nothing new. While it's correct that both the Trump and Clinton plans will increase the national debt, the Trump plan will create more jobs and actually increase incomes for all income earners, not just the wealthy.  Hillary's plan will raise more revenue than Trump's plan to cover her new spending programs. 

The candidates very briefly touched on Social Security solvency but the potential to discuss reform quickly turned into heated accusations over "privatization." Our hope is the next Presidential debates will put forth tangible solutions for social security reform.

It's still difficult to discern what each administration would do to address the crushing regulations on small business and the mounting national debt. While the Clinton campaign touts small business growth as one of five tenets for stabilizing the American economy, we still haven't heard how she plans to do that in a way that creates net-positive private sector jobs.

Once again, we heard almost nothing as it relates to health care reform. In the wake of Obamacare's failure, the country needs s different approach to health care that reduces the power of the federal government, frees innovation, and allows patients to control their health dollars. Indiana has made marginal improvements in this direction, through the Healthy Indiana Program for state employees, and we hope the reforms Governor Pence inherited from his predecessor will influence federal health policy.

Overall, the ideas presented defined each potential administration; from Senator Kaine we heard a promise of more government, and from Governor Pence, we heard a plea for less. While the Vice Presidential debate was a decidedly more thoughtful discussion about critical policy issues, we're still not clear whether either administration has a detailed plan for solving the aforementioned critical issues.


James H. Amos, Jr.
President & CEO


Browse more articles on Economic Issues