America’s Credit Unions and RealClearPolitics welcomed a variety of guests Wednesday to a panel discussion on the middle class and its role in this year’s presidential election. CUNA Chief Political Officer Richard Gose welcomed attendees, and spoke briefly about credit unions’ role in serving the middle class.
“Credit unions are a critical part of our financial fabric. One in 3 Americans belong to a credit union, and we have over 6,000 credit unions that serve working families and the middle class in this country,” Gose said. “As we look at this campaign we’re excited to see a debate around the middle class, about how to grow and sustain a viable middle class that’s going to bring prosperity. That’s always been the backbone of this country.”
CUNA launched its “Strong Credit Unions. Strong Middle Class.” grassroots campaign earlier this year, which focuses on educating all presidential candidates on the importance of credit unions and the benefits they provide to middle and lower-income individuals.
The event itself consisted of three panels: one with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Norquist discussed the evolution of Republican tax policy, how Brexit will affect America-England relationships and the dangers of regulatory burden, among other topics.
“Most businesses are damaged more by regulations than by taxes, and that’s what slows economic growth,” Norquist said.
The second panel featured Alex Conant of Firehouse Strategies and the presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.); Sean Trende and A.B. Stoddard of RealClearPolitics; and Josh Krashaar of the National Journal.
“When [the Rubio campaign] talked about the middle class, we were thinking about people who are not ‘all set.’ Basically people that are worried about their future, they don’t have piles of money in their savings accounts or retirement accounts, haven’t paid for their kids’ education, haven’t paid off all their student loans or home mortgages. That is, they worry about money,” Conant said, when asked about what and who the middle class is. “I think that’s the vast majority of Americans.”
The final panel of the day was with Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), who speculated on what a Trump presidency might mean for the middle class.