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Scruggs, Vassallo Debate: Which Presidential Candidate Has Better Plans for Growth

Dickie Scruggs: Hillary Clinton’s plans for economic growth are sensible—even conservative.

Richard "Dickie" Scruggs
Richard “Dickie” Scruggs

“Hillary believes the defining economic challenge of our time is raising incomes for hardworking Americans.” This is straight from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign literature. While some might argue that raising incomes is not the most important issue (what with ISIS, terrorism and immigration still out there), few would make the argument that family incomes aren’t near the top in importance.

So, how does she plan to do it? Not surprisingly for a Clinton, by proposing a mix of conservative economics and traditional Democratic approaches.

First, she would push for immigration reform as an “engine of growth”. She told Newsweek that “bringing millions…into the formal economy…would increase our gross domestic product by an estimated $700 billion.” In other words, legitimize the wages and products of undocumented residents that are now unaccounted for and untaxed.

Next, Mrs. Clinton would establish an “infrastructure bank”, the purpose of which would be to channel private and public funds into the modernization of airports, railroads, bridges and the like. This would make the movement of people and goods faster and cheaper, while creating thousands of construction and maintenance jobs. She would also raise the taxes on “hugely successful companies” that expatriate their profits or game the system to avoid paying their fair share.

But she also proposes some traditionally conservative ideas to encourage private investment in decaying urban areas such as the creation of “empowerment zones” and reviving the “New Markets Tax Credit”. Similarly, calling it “clear-eyed capitalism”, Mrs. Clinton would subsidize programs to hire and train workers. This would involve an “apprenticeship” tax credit or direct payments for each employee hired and/or trained up.

Mrs. Clinton has also modified (and perhaps jeopardized) her alliance with tort lawyers by proposing a “public trust fund” for a portion of damage suit awards for corporate fraud. She also favors changing the rules on Wall Street to incentivize long-term investment at the expense of a quick trading culture that benefits only money managers.

Finally, Mrs. Clinton would follow up on recent studies in education by subsidizing child care for working parents, and focusing more educational resources on very young children.

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton’s proposals are sensible and proven (even conservative) methods of strengthening the middle class. For those who never liked the Clintons, the mere fact that Mrs. Clinton is the proponent will be enough to convert a good idea into a bad one–like RomneyCare became radioactive when proposed by Barack Obama. But examined through a more objective lens, Mrs. Clinton has put forth specific plans with a good chance of working.

Steve Vassallo: Donald Trump brings a common sense approach to job creation.

Steve Vassallo
Steve Vassallo

Because this issue had to be addressed twice, I’ll make certain that our readers get at least one solution. As a certified Economic Developer for the better part of three decades, this is an area of expertise that I have had a great deal of experience. Dickie’s description of Hillary’s plan for economic growth is nothing more than eyewash. During the previous seven years, the Democrats have presided over a declining economy in which middle income families have suffered. Part-time, minimum wage jobs will neither sustain our economy nor our job growth for families to thrive as well as survive.

Donald Trump understands job creation better than anyone seeking the presidency. In reality, he has created thousands of jobs whereas the politicians can only talk about this from a theoretical perspective. Under a Trump presidency, we can expect significant job growth, as well as quality job growth! This will all be accomplished via a pro business environment starting with small businesses.

To begin with, President Trump will make the US corporate tax rates among the most competitive worldwide. Currently, the corporate tax rates on taxable income vary between 15 and 39 percent which is the primary reason so many U.S. corporations have sought foreign destinations for their plants and other facilities.

Other key missing ingredients from Hillary’s plan include incentives; the expansion of technical colleges; the removal and reduction of regulations hamstringing entrepreneurs and small business and the establishment of pro business areas in which permitting and other licensing requirements are “fast tracked.”

Another one of Hillary’s solutions to expand the economy, increasing the minimum hourly wage (which Mr. Trump opposes), will do more to adversely impact small business than anything conceivable. A significant increase in this area as she is outlining will preclude many businesses from seasonal hiring as well as forcing them to fast forward technology to eliminate jobs in their entirety in favor of mechanization.

Can you imagine an American economy in which manufacturing jobs begin returning here from foreign shores? When I entered the economic development profession in the 1980s, I immediately witnessed the extinction of textile jobs from our landscape. This was quickly followed by higher tech jobs leaving from within our borders. A service sector based economy is a formula for disaster. Donald Trump clearly understands this.

It’s a sad commentary that Hillary and her tax-and-spend fellow Democrats cannot see the forest for the trees.

Dickie Scruggs is one of Oxford’s best-known former attorneys who now expresses his passion for adult education through the GED in a unique state-wide program he has developed, aptly called “Second Chance.” Scruggs is a well known Democrat and anchors the position of the Left in Point/No-Point. He can be reached at DickScruggs@gmail.com.

Steve Vassallo of Oxford is a frequent contributor to HottyToddy.com covering a wide range of subjects. An arch conservative, the popular columnist holds the political position of the Right in Point/No-Point. He can be reached at sovassallo@gmail.com.

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