Brat noted that although he had worked with his opponent Jack Trammell for 15 years, his strategy for preparing for the debate was unaffected by the unlikely scenario of two college professors going toe to toe.
“I just ran on principles so it doesn’t matter who I’m debating,” Brat said. “I just try to give the clearest and most truthful answers that will solve the problems on the questions I’m asked.”
“You just put out your principles, a positive affirmative message and hope the voters respond favorably to that. They don’t care about the politics, the gamesmanship, the horse race. They just want to know what are you running on and what are you going to do to improve my life, to improve the economy.”
When asked to weigh his approach to lifting Americans out of poverty against the widely popular approach of raising the minimum wage, Brat noted that simply raising the minimum wage would not address the needs of those that had dropped out of the workforce altogether.
“In the labor market right now the most serious issue that we face is the people that have dropped out of the labor force and are no longer getting any workforce skills,” Brat said. “People have been out of work for four The Center of the Political Universe or five years in a row, very hard for them to ever come back into the labor force because they lose their skills.”
Brat also expanded on his approach to raising the labor force participation rate.
“The evidence seems to be on my side: there’s something very wrong with the labor force, people are not working, the last thing you want to do is to raise the price of labor, you
want to lower the price of labor so people hire more.”
When asked about the potential increased purchasing power the minimum wage would give to affected employees, Brat noted that in his view that particular argument for the minimum wage is a circular one.
“The only thing that causes net gains is economic growth, and the wage rate is not related to that. So as you heard, I talked about corporate tax rate reductions, a flat or fair tax system, making moves in STEM education that will get the economy going. That produces, if you want to put it that way, ‘manna from heaven.’ Redistribution on the minimum wage side does not.”
The issue of student debt and rising tuition costs was also raised in the debate, but candidate Brat didn’t offer a direct solution.
Brat indicated in his interview with The Yellow Jacket that he would leave solving the issue of student debt and rising tuition to the free market.
“The real issue isn’t with the debt, the problem is that our economy is just broken,” Brat said. “We’re not growing, firms aren’t hiring, Obamacare is largely to blame for that, the regulatory burden is largely to blame for that, so the best thing you can do for students is to get them jobs.”
-Henry Ashton ’15, Senior Politics/Opinions Editor