"Republicans stand for lesser government, lower taxes. Republicans like to see tax breaks," Weiler said. "Taxes are government reaching into your pocket. The federal income taxes are the only thing we (party) can control. The middle class pays the majority of the taxes."
Watson countered that "tax codes are very structured to help the top 1 percent of the rich. Of the four tax cuts since 2001, they favor those earning over $200,000 a year. In Utah, 30 percent earn below poverty level. For a two-income household to stay over the poverty level, they would have to earn $11.33 an hour. For one income, that's $19 an hour."
"I take issue with the statement that the Republicans are making the deficit an issue, that they're running away from it," Weiler said. "What are we supposed to do, when 3,000 people were killed from 9-11? What are we supposed to do when hurricanes strike? Are we supposed to turn a blind eye?"
"The deficit is a campaign tactic," Watson charged. "When Ronald Reagan was president (before most in the audience were born), he ran a $2 trillion deficit. The average taxpayer would have to pay $4,000 each to get rid of the deficit."
"The Communist threat was virtually eliminated" during Reagan's term, Weiler countered. "The (Berlin) Wall was torn down. Reagan spent a lot of that money on Star Wars technology, was successful in eliminating the Communist threat."
The pair also sparred over Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, with Watson saying "since FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was placed under the Department of Homeland Security, its budget was severely cut. Money to help comes from the feds. There was a meeting on the levees (in New Orleans) a month before Hurricane Katrina struck. They knew they should do something."
"It's absolutely ridiculous to blame the feds for response in the first 24 to 48 hours," Weiler said. "The state and local government officials turned their backs on school buses, that were under water (after not being used). Look at Texas, compare the response," with Texas under Republican leadership and the governor and mayor of New Orleans Democrats.
The debate was sponsored by Davis County Teenage Republicans.