Turning Point USA, an organization designed to promote citizen political engagement against governmental debts and deficits, hosted a debate between four students representing varying political perspectives on issues currently facing America on campus Tuesday.
Debate participants represented four different political views, including the University of Wisconsin Social Democrats, the College Democrats, the College Republicans and the Independents.
A moderator asked the debaters 10 questions that covered a variety of topics including health care, the recession, the current state of the economy, student loans, unemployment, free trade, the deficit and government spending.
Brendan Moriarty, the debater representing the Social Democrat perspective, said the two main goals of the Social Democrats in dealing with domestic policy are raising and dispersing income tax rates and ensuring every citizen is able to enjoy a reasonably high standard of living.
“With these two policies, the Social Democrats would both lower income inequality and raise the standard of living for everyone,” Moriarty said.
However, College Democrat Representative Austin Helmke said the best way to deal with domestic policy is to make governmental programs more efficient, contextualize foreign policy to suit the nation’s economic needs and rely on the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes.
Helmke added as current students of UW, the debt problems the country faces should be a huge concern.
“I would lay out a vision of Democrats as a plane of balance,” Helmke said. “This country has a lot of debt problems, and as young people, we’re going to have to deal with it.”
The debate representative from the College Republicans, Ryan Hughes, said the unemployment rate and debt in the U.S. have increased under President Barack Obama’s policies, and Republican policies will help correct these issues.
According to Hughes, Republicans will create economic growth through lower taxes and lower regulations.
Hughes added fixing the economy and helping to reduce unemployment are key issues for current students because many will soon have to deal with unemployment upon graduation if the job market is not fixed.
Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA and representative of the Independent perspective in the debate, said the Independent Party believes both Democrats and Republicans are at fault for the current deficit and unemployment because both engage in irresponsible spending.
“The Republicans are not fiscally conservative in wars,” Kirk said. “The Democrats passed an unbelievably wasteful stimulus bill. Both parties got us into this mess, and both parties need to get us out. Washington is stealing our generation’s money, … and that is because of both parties and their reckless spending.”
The representatives debated American domestic issues and policies for more than an hour before making their closing statements.
Jordan Krause, a senior at UW and the president of Young Americans for Liberty, said he was pleased with a lot of the varying points brought up by all the different perspectives and was surprised by the level of agreement across the table.
Krause said in his opinion, the Independent representative won the debate.
Krause added events like the debate are great for students because they are able to listen to the views of their peers, voice their own opinions and get more involved politically, especially nearing election time.
“It is good for students to ask people who are politically involved tough questions like we heard from some of the audience members,” Krause said. “The students were really involved.”