FAU College Dems and GOP hold debate

Dylan Bouscher

A College Republican is worried wind turbines are killing birds.

Jon Taylor expressed this concern to the College Democrats Monday night. The Democrats challenged the Republicans to a debate after President Barack Obama’s visit earlier this month. During the talk, the two sides argued about raising taxes, reducing the national debt, and income inequality. Nicholas Scalice, SG Chief Justice of the Student Court, moderated. There were no winners and over 50 people in the crowd.

Representing the Democrats, was the club’s president Boris Bastidas and member Ayden Maher. Standing at the podium for the College Republicans, was club president Jeff Arnold and member Jon Taylor.

The first question Scalice asked the Republicans was how President Obama has done so far in improving the economy. Taylor called Obama “the five trillion dollar man.”

“The only way to fix our economy,” he said. “is to drastically reduce spending.”

In their rebuttal, the Democrats told the opposition that cuts were not the only solution. “Now you have to have a balance of tax increases and cuts.” Maher said. “You can’t have one before the other.”

Arnold then criticized the Democrats for not having a plan. “There has been no proposal by the Obama administration for debt reduction,” Arnold said before promoting Congressional Republican Paul Ryan’s plan. Obama spoke at FAU about the Buffett Rule on April 10, and announced part of his debt reduction plan.

“When they say we need to do this and we need to do that, put it on paper and give us a plan,” Arnold said. The U.S. House of Representatives, which holds a Republican majority, voted down the Buffett rule 234-179.

“Lower regulations, lower taxes,” Arnold said were the main points he wanted the crowd to take away from the Republican side of the debate. When it came time to talk about the environment, Arnold and Taylor were against the regulatory Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “I had no idea you were so passionate about birds,” Bastidas said to Taylor about his wind turbine comment, adding, “So you love birds, but you want to gut the EPA?”

“These alternative energies yield less than oil and natural gas, and the consequences are higher than the economic gain,” Taylor said when clarifying his comment on birds. “More oil seeps naturally from the ocean floor than has ever been spilled by man,” Taylor said when asked to compare the consequences of alternative energy to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

When Scalice asked about alternative tax reforms such as the fair tax, neither side agreed. The fair tax would replace the current tax plan with a 23% national sales tax. “You’re creating the exact same system you were against,” Bastidas said.

“What we have now is a perfect system,” Taylor responded.

Throughout the debate, both sides interrupted each other —often. “That’s just back and forth. That’s just us interacting,” Arnold said, adding the four debaters have known each other for more than two years. Scalice allowed the interruptions, saying, “I think they added to it. It wasn’t hostile.”

Although the debate was to be about the economy, both sides touched on issues ranging from healthcare to the environment. “We didn’t stray that much,” Scalice said. He said he was supposed to moderate alongside Owl TV Station Manager A.J. Jordat, who never showed up.

Eric Lupo, a GOP in the crowd, told the UP he came to the debate for his party. “I came out here to support my fellow Republicans and hear the debate.”

Bastidas said, “They got to hear both sides, which is great.”