On Wednesday night, Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris debated at the University of Utah. It was a historic debate for many reasons – not only is Harris the first black and South Asian woman to participate in a general election debate, but the two candidates were separated by plexiglass as a precaution to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Both candidates directly sidestepped some of the most pressing issues, including President Donald Trump‘s state of health and the transfer of power. Pence interrupted Harris on several occasions, prompting him to intervene with a now-viral quote: “Excuse me, I’m still talking.” A fly stayed on Pence’s head for a good two minutes.
Despite the deviations and distractions, there was substantial discussion about the economy and plans for the future.
What did we learn economically from each campaign?
Moderator Susan Page asked the candidates how they could pull the economy out of the current jobs crisis, citing that nearly 11 million jobs have been lost since the start of the year.
Harris responded by providing details of Biden’s plan to repeal a tax bill passed by Trump that benefits “America’s richest 1% and largest corporations, leading to a $ 2 trillion deficit. that the American people are going to have to pay ”. Harris mentioned.
Harris added that the tax cut would instead be reinvested in Americans, and Biden would focus on investing in infrastructure to create new jobs. Additionally, a Biden administration would make community college free for families earning less than $ 125,000 a year, and student loan debt balances would be reduced by $ 10,000.
Pence gave few concrete examples of what another Trump presidential term would do to help economic recovery. Instead, he praised Trump’s tax cut, saying the administration has already restored 11.6 million jobs since the height of the pandemic and provided a historic amount of economic aid through the CARES Act. in March.
Pence gave no real plans for economic aid that might come in the future, but said “the American comeback is on the ballot with four years of additional growth and opportunity,” referring to a possible re-election of Trump.
One of the hottest topics in the debate was taxes.
In responding to how a Trump administration would aid economic recovery, Pence took aim at Harris, saying a Biden presidency would raise taxes on American families by eliminating Trump’s tax cut. Harris fired back, declaring that a Biden presidency would not raise taxes for families earning less than $ 400,000 a year.
Healthcare has become a hot topic in the 2020 election, and for good reason. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a subject that divides the general population. A September 2020 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation notes that about half of the public (49%) have a favorable opinion of the ACA, while 42% deem it unfavorably (the other respondents do not know or refuse to answer).
Trump has long been an opponent of the ACA, adopted under the Obama administration. In the 2016 election, Trump vowed to repeal and replace the law, which has yet to happen. Pence echoed the administration’s sentiment against the ACA during Wednesday’s debate.
“I hope we get a chance to talk about health care because Obamacare was a disaster and the American people remember it well,” Pence said. He added that he and Trump “have a plan to improve health care and protect pre-existing conditions for every American,” but did not give details on what that plan looks like.
Harris defended the ACA, saying it “provides health care to over 20 million Americans and protects people with pre-existing conditions.” She added that the ACA is crucial for Americans right now during the pandemic, saying it has “saved families who would otherwise go bankrupt with hospital bills they couldn’t afford.”
Wednesday’s vice-presidential debate was the only vice-presidential debate scheduled for the 2020 election.
There are still two presidential debates scheduled for October 15 and 22. The Presidential Debates Commission announced Thursday that all upcoming presidential debates will be virtual in a bid to protect candidates from Covid-19. But Trump, who is recovering after being diagnosed with the virus last week, said on Thursday the virtual debates were a “waste of time” and said he would not participate.