Thursday's Republican presidential debate is shaping up as a heavyweight fight between candidates eager to trumpet their ability to steer the U.S. economy.
The sixth match-up of GOP hopefuls, in North Charleston, South Carolina, features a slimmed-down field of seven. But the smaller number of people on stage only means the contest is getting more intense. That's particularly the case with the February 1 Iowa caucuses fast approaching.
Specifically, the rapid rise of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who recent polls show is in a virtual dead heat with businessman Donald Trump among Iowa voters, has only ramped up the sniping between the two candidates. In recent days, for example, Trump has publicly questioned whether Cruz, who was born in Canada, is a "natural born citizen," and is thus qualified to hold the highest office. For his part, Cruz has attempted to portray Trump as a New York liberal, out of step with conservative voters.
The prime-time debate is airing on Fox Business Network, suggesting the discussion will focus largely on economic and business issues. So which of the two leading Republican candidates speaks more for entrepreneurs--the mogul who transformed his father's real estate business into a multibillion-dollar global enterprise, or the son of a Cuban immigrant father, who became a litigator and a senator?
Here's where Cruz and Trump stand on issues critical to entrepreneurs.
|ISSUES||TED CRUZ||DONALD TRUMP|
|Taxes||Eliminate the current seven tax brackets and create a 10 percent flat tax for individual filers, and a 16 percent corporate rate, down from the current top rate of 35 percent. Cruz also would eliminate the payroll tax. On his website, the senator has indicated he might also favor a FAIR tax, which taxes retail consumption. And he would apply a one-time 10 percent tax to repatriated overseas corporate profits.||The wealthiest would pay taxes of 25 percent, down from 40 percent. Corporate taxes would decrease to 15 percent. Companies that have been hoarding cash overseas would be allowed to repatriate it, with a one-time 10 percent tax. Trump also would close the loophole that lets corporations defer taxes by banking funds overseas. Instead, companies would pay taxes on income at the time it is earned. Pass-through entities, such as S-Corps and LLCs, would have taxes capped at 15 percent as well.|
|Capital Gains||Eliminate estate taxes and capital gains.||Eliminate estate taxes. Long-term capital gains for the wealthy would be fixed at rates between 15 and 20 percent, which is generally what the rate is today.|
|Immigration||Legal immigration reform, as opposed to comprehensive reform that provides a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented workers. Cruz's plan that involves building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, tripling the number of agents on the border, and increasing aerial surveillance. The senator would expand the E-verify program, requiring employers to run checks on potential hires. He'd also pursue legislation that would prevent small companies from deducting the salaries of undocumented workers at tax time.||Round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Build a wall along the border with Mexico, and triple the number of immigration officers nationwide. A national E-verify program, and an end to federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities that don't cooperate with new immigration laws. Place a ban on Muslims immigrating to the U.S.|
|Affordable Care Act||Eliminate the health care act, and its taxes for noncompliance. Let free markets handle health care. Cruz recently voted with 51 senators on a bill to gut the ACA, the first such bill to pass in the upper chamber.||Get rid of the ACA and give health care responsibilities to the states and the free market. Potentially set up a system of federal health savings accounts.|
|Universal Savings Accounts||Establish tax-deferred federal savings accounts of up to $25,000.||No publicly established position|
|IRS||Eliminate the Internal Revenue Service||Maintain the IRS|
|Federal Reserve||Cruz would give Congress audit power over the central bank.||No publicly established position, although Trump has criticized the Fed's monetary policy decisions related to the financial crisis.|