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Op-ed Placement

In Tonight’s Debate Candidates Must Explain Their Plan to Restore the American Economy

Originally Published in CNSNews.com on 11/10/15.

Following the sham that was the CNBC debate, and the Republican reaction to it, Fox Business has a mandate to conduct a debate that actually serves voters by helping them distinguish the candidates from one another and decide who would be most qualified to lead this country for the next four years.

This provides an opportunity to ask questions that are tough, but substantive, focusing on policy rather than personality, and staying well away from partisan attacks designed to damage the candidates rather than inform the public. The purpose of debates, after all, is to help voters decide, not advance the viewpoint of the moderators or regurgitate tired talking points.

With that in mind, here are three policy areas that deserve to be explored in greater depth.

Tax Reform

By now, several candidates have released their tax plans with varying degrees of conservatism, as well as varying degrees of realism. The voters deserve a more in-depth discussion of what sort of taxes they could expect to pay under each candidate’s presidency.

Is a consumption tax preferable to an income tax and why? For the flat taxers, how did they arrive at their chosen rate, and how will they address the revenue impact? Which deductions should be preserved, and why? It would be particularly interesting to hear how candidates proposing a zero percent tax rates on the low-income Americans respond to the argument that it’s important that everyone have some skin in the game, so that they see the cost of government benefits before voting for them.

It’s great that so many candidates are talking about major tax reform proposals, but now it’s time to dispense with the generalities and drill down into specifics, so we can see who is actually serious, and who is just offering red meat to conservatives.