3 Carly Fiorina Quotes About The Economy That Actually Make Sense

Carly Fiorina isn't the most popular 2016 presidential candidate among millennial women. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is a Republican, doesn't support reproductive rights, and has spoken at length about defunding Planned Parenthood. But Fiorina's business background also gives her a leg up on many of the 2016 presidential hopefuls when it comes to understanding the U.S. economy. Ahead of Tuesday evening's Republican primary debate, which will air on the Fox Business Network, here are some of Carly Fiorina's quotes about the economy that actually make a lot of sense.

As someone whose background isn't in politics, Fiorina is in a rare position this election season. In terms of her background, Fiorina might be closest to fellow Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose background is in real estate development and business, not in politics. But Fiorina and Trump can use that fact to their advantage this campaign season, since they've experienced economic pitfalls and strategies firsthand.

Like many other Republicans, Fiorina has criticized "big government" in the past, but her economic reasons are surprisingly coherent. And while some of Fiorina's factual statements have been called into question this campaign season — FactCheck.org, for example, disputes her claim that 92 percent of job losses during President Obama's first term belonged to women — her overarching ideas make a lot of sense.

1. "Big Government Only Works For Big Business"

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In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published in October, Fiorina criticized Hillary Clinton's economic plans, arguing that Obama's policies haven't helped the American middle class. The issue is a lot more nuanced than Fiorina might claim, but some of her points in the op-ed ring true. Many large companies, including big banks, have seen success during President Obama's time in office. Fiorina wrote:

Big government only works for big business, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected. Consider the 2010 Dodd-Frank law: Under that legislation passed by a Democrat-led Congress, "too big to fail" banks got even bigger, while 1,500 community banks — the source of half of all loans to local businesses — reportedly have been destroyed. The remaining community banks have had to hire 50 percent more compliance staff just to keep up with the regulations.

After claiming that big government helps big businesses, Fiorina cited the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law. Her argument about community banks struggling is one statement fact-checkers haven't scrutinized her about, and many others have lamented Dodd-Frank's effects on community banks, too. In May, former Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacevich also cited the 1,500 figure, saying on CNBC's Squawk Box that "regulation is killing small banks."

2. "Women Have Been Hit Hardest By This Recession"


In an October interview on CNN's New Day, Fiorina lamented the extreme poverty rate among women in the United States. Fiorina's statements to Alisyn Camerota echoed claims she and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made during a Republican primary debate about Democratic economic policies being bad for women. Cruz said that the median wage for U.S. women is lower than it was in 2008, and CNN verified his claim as true. And in the interview with Camerota, Fiorina said it's "just a fact" that "women have been hit hardest by this recession and lackluster economic recovery." So while you might not agree with many of Fiorina's stances on women's issues, she does have a point here.

Fast Company used data from the U.S. Census to confirm Fiorina's claims about U.S. women living in poverty. The publication found that when former president George W. Bush left office, the number of female heads of households living below the poverty line was 31.4 percent. In 2011, that figure reached 34.2 percent before falling to 33.1 percent last year. While the reasons for the rise is debatable, when you strictly consider the poverty rate for female heads of household, Fiorina is right that it's risen while Obama has been in office.

3. "The Middle Class Has Shrunk Under The Obama Administration"

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In her WSJ op-ed, Fiorina wrote that "the middle class has shrunk under the Obama administration." Fiorina wrote that after inflation, U.S. middle-class households have lost about $1,300 on average (a figure for which she blames Obama's policies). Fiorina has cited the statistic that the number of working-age Americans participating in the U.S. labor force is only 62.4 percent, a figure taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fiorina is also right to claim that U.S. labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since "the Jimmy Carter-era recession" — the labor force participation rate is now at its lowest point in 38 years, according to CNS News.

To be fair, The New York Times noted in January that the American middle class has been shrinking "for almost half a century." Still, Obama's presidency is the most recent set of policies available for Republican candidates' criticism this election season, and Fiorina isn't wrong to bring up the middle class.

Fiorina wrote in the Journal that "America needs someone in the White House who actually understands how the economy works." Whether or not you agree with her ideas, it's clear that Fiorina does understand these economic policies, so her statements at Tuesday's Republican debate will definitely be interesting.