So I decided to run a little experiment. I was thinking that I would like to hear what the US House candidates approached economic policy. None of the advertising, debates, or even the candidates websites provide much insight into their ideas about economic policy.
So I was thumbing through the voters pamphlet, and saw the email addresses for each candidate. So I thought what the heck, why dont I ask them?
I thought back to this chart I saw regarding median family income:
I composed the following email with the following 3 questions, and sent it off to the campaign email for incumbent Dave Reichert (R) and challenger Karen Porterfield (D):
1. What do you think are the primary causes of the United States median family income has been falling for the last 10 years?
2. What do you think are the solutions to help turn this around?
3. Is median family income the best indicator of how to measure the effectiveness of economic policy? If not, what indicator (or indicators) do you think best measures economic policy effectiveness?
Below are the responses from each candidate:
The next day, I recieved an email and a voice message from Karen Porterfield asking me to call her to discuss these questions. So I called her, and we discussed the questions:
Karen stated she thinks the primary causes of the decline in median family income was the current tax structure. She brought up an interesting point that the Reagan tax cuts were implemented at a time of high demand, so it made more sense to provide breaks to wealthy individuals. However now, with a low demand for capital, the low tax rates for the wealthy are not helping to provide economic stimulus.
Karen mentioned two solutions to help turn the median family income around. The first focused on changing the tax structure to provide more money to middle and lower class to help spur demand. She also mentioned small business tax breaks to help. The other solution was to focus on a manufacturing policy, which she feels is lacking. One thought she mentioned is to write into government contracts more often a requirement that items must be ‘Made in America’ – providing jobs for Americans and increased worker experience. Keep the knowledge learned by building things with American workers – she felt this was an overlooked benefit of keeping jobs in America.
Regaarding using median family income as a measurement for economic policy success, she agreed that was a good indicator, but felt it was important to focus on leading indicators, where median family income is a trailing indicator. Metrics she said she would use to measure effectiveness would be student graduation rates from Universities, vocational schools, and community colleges, employment numbers, and quarterly Auto sales. She emphasised that car sales are a great measure of how the middle class is doing, because rising car sales indicate people are feeling more confident in their future and can risk a large expense.
In summary, I was impressed with her answers to these questions. These were not canned answers, and I could sense a great understanding of the issues.
After 3 days, I have yet to receive a response to the email.
I find it disappointing that it isn’t possible to get an understanding of both candidates views on economic policy. I have not found any interviews with Dave Reichert on the internet where he provides his thoughts on economic policy. Therefor, I am endorsing Karen Porterfield for Congress. In our brief discussion, she demonstrated to me a solid grasp of the issues, and she shows an interest in listening and engaging with her constituents.