Le programme économique des Républicains, quelles idées pour 2016 ? Potomac Paper, No. 24, January 2016
Republican candidates in the 2016 primaries have trouble standing out on economic issues. Indeed, they all embrace the same conservative tenets, namely the reduction (at all costs) of federal power in the name of liberty ; and tax cuts for the wealthy in the name of "trickle-down economics", a theory already put forward by the Reagan administration.
Even though Jeb Bush's very detailed program shows an effort towards the middle-class, the candidates’ programs focus mostly on lower taxes for the wealthy and for private companies.
A number of new ideas have recently emerged amongst GOP-related circles, however, recognizing the need for a future Republican president to try and reduce social inequalities. Their proposals include measures to ensure America's middle-class access to both healthcare and higher education, as well as to make sure that it can get on the property ladder - without, of course, reinforcing federal prerogatives.
In the context of a highly polarized primary election, these ideas are not being translated into formal proposals by GOP candidates, who for instance stand in unison against a raise of the minimum wage. Most progressive of all, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio offer a number of training and education measures, however.
Finally, GOP candidates are reluctant to discuss both immigration and environment issues. Given the necessity for the next Republican nominee to obtain the Latino vote, immigration reform should be at the center of the Republican debate. Furthermore, many U.S. companies now acknowledge the fact that they rely on work immigration and take into account climate change-related issues.
The candidates' lack of bravery in tackling economic issues may very well put them at a disadvantage in the general election.
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