Inflation and economy headline at Utah’s 1st congressional district debate

Ogden, Utah – The economy was a priority for Republican Rep. Blake Moore and his Democratic challenger, Rick Jones, during their debate on Monday.

Although both candidates for Utah’s 1st congressional district agreed that the economy is a top voter concern, they disagreed on what causes economic instability and what what needs to be done to fix it.

Moore said the blame lies with the “enormous amount” of spending by the federal government in recent months, and that he plans to reduce the deficit and mandatory spending in Congress. Jones, on the other hand, points to the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the lack of antitrust enforcement in the United States as the main drivers of inflation.

The economy, inflation and gas prices

Economic concerns dominated more than half of the hour-long debate, held at Weber State University. Moore seemed eager to talk about the economy and inflation and used the issue to attack Democratic leaders in Washington.

“I would love to talk about it continuously,” he said.

Moore said there was “absolutely reason to be upset” with the current state of the economy in the United States, adding that government spending – the US bailout law of 1.9 trillion dollars in particular – were to blame.

“It’s a tax on every American,” he said, speaking of high levels of inflation. “I don’t care how much you earn, regardless of your income status – it’s a huge tax. And so yes, people are frustrated. They see it playing out in their daily lives, and we have to be ready to step in. and solve this problem.

As for tackling inflation, Moore said Congress needs to get the national debt under control, which topped $31 trillion last week.

Jones disagreed and argued that nearly every president of the past 40 years — Republicans and Democrats alike — has overseen “astronomical deficits,” not facing the same levels of inflation.

Outgoing Representative for Utah's 1st Congressional District Blake Moore, right, and challenger Rick Jones, center, discussed issues affecting northern Utah with moderator Kerry Bringhurst during the debate on the 1st Congressional District general elections at the Val A. Browning Center on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden on Monday.
Outgoing Representative for Utah’s 1st Congressional District Blake Moore, right, and challenger Rick Jones, center, discussed issues affecting northern Utah with moderator Kerry Bringhurst during the debate on the 1st Congressional District general elections at the Val A. Browning Center on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden on Monday. (Photo: Leah Hogsten)

“The truth is that a lot of the inflation is due to COVID,” Jones said. “It killed a million people and then slowed another 4 or 5 million with long-haul COVID. There’s the Ukrainian war, and it’s been years since the United States has aggressively enforced antitrust. This has tended to create more companies with monopoly power that wield that power at the expense of so many people.

Asked about gas prices, in particular, Moore stressed the importance of US energy independence to insulate the country from decisions made by OPEC+, the group of major oil producing nations led by Saudi Arabia and the United States. Russia. He criticized the Biden administration for shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline last year.

“When it comes to gasoline prices, we can’t forget that just over a decade ago a barrel of oil was around $150,” Jones said in response. “And more recently it’s been around $100.”

Health care costs

There was some agreement among the candidates on how to deal with rising health care costs. Moore said he wants more competition in health care and allowing patients to compare prices and services, as they would when grocery shopping or selecting car insurance.

“Have you ever done that with your x-rays?” ” He asked. “No, you never have because we don’t allow – we don’t encourage – enough transparency and competition in our healthcare markets.”

“I would wholeheartedly agree with that,” Jones said, “and I can’t applaud the Biden administration highly enough for cutting drug prices, and I think it should be for everyone.” .”

Yet they weren’t completely up to speed when it came to other ways to cut health care costs. When asked how he plans to cut costs for students, Jones said he supports expanding Medicaid to help more low-income Americans qualify for insurance.

“Our health care costs are really completely irrelevant compared to the rest of the world,” he said.

Moore, on the other hand, said he’s optimistic that telehealth and other remote health options may prove less expensive and more accessible for young Americans. He also believes that increased investment in telehealth research will allow more people to access preventive care and prevent costly and debilitating long-term health problems.

The future of abortion

In addition to economic concerns, the candidates addressed the future of abortion following the June Supreme Court ruling that struck down the constitutionally protected right to abortion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they all generally toed the party line in their responses.

“From the beginning, I’ve been focused on that…to promote two things that are really important to me,” Moore said. “One is to protect life, and I won’t apologize for that. And the other case is to make sure that women have the resources they need when they are in a difficult situation.

Those situations, Moore said, include providing resources for adoption as well as expanding the child tax credit to include fetuses, because “if we believe this is life, then why doesn’t it s not apply to a baby in the womb?”

Jones said he views abortion under certain circumstances as health care and that women should have a choice in the first trimester of pregnancy.

“To be honest, I’m appalled at the thought of a 10-year-old or young children having to carry babies to term,” he said. “I just think it goes against a lot of what we believe in. … I also think it’s foolish to try to criminalize abortion when about two-thirds of the country wants at least what was available with Roe v. Wade – which allowed women to make the call in the first quarter.

Moore said he agrees with exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s health is at risk. He said we should “rely on the medical community to help us understand what these cases are.”

Climate change and drought

Both candidates spoke about the importance of taking action to mitigate climate change and drought and said the federal government has a role to play in this regard. Moore touted his support for Utah Rep. John Curtis’ conservative climate group and pointed to the potentially devastating effects of the shrinking Great Salt Lake.

“We need to take a holistic approach to this,” Moore said. “We have to manage things acutely in the short term. We have to be prepared to look at greenhouse gas emissions over time. What can the United States do to lead this effort? »

Jones stressed the need to reduce the amount of carbon emissions, but neither candidate offered details on how to do this.

“Probably at some point we will have to take steps to really discourage carbon consumption,” Jones said. “But for now, we have to keep the full range of options open and make sure the transition (away from carbon) is well thought out.”

About Wilhelmina Go

Check Also

In southern China, residents revolt against COVID-19 controls

Frustrated residents of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou broke temporary barriers and marched through …