WASHINGTON - This week's Republican presidential debate was on the whole a very grown up affair that finally focused on the sluggish Obama economy.
It offered solid proposals to get the great American jobs machine up and running again by unlocking investment capital to grow the economy at a faster pace than the mediocre 1 to 2 percent we've suffered through the past seven years.
Unlike the earlier CNBC debate where its moderators asked "gotcha" questions aimed solely at getting them into a fight with one another, this one said at the outset that it was going to deal with what voters say are their biggest concerns: the economy, jobs, and incomes.
It was hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal, and their moderators asked intelligent questions that were aimed at the candidate's plans to get our country moving again.
Fox News moderator Neil Cavuto set the civilized tone of the debate when he said at the outset it would be about "the economy and what each of you would do to improve it. No more, no less."
All of the candidates talked about their tax cut plans -- some quite good, some not so good.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's "flat tax" plan has been offered in Congress for decades but has gone nowhere, and isn't going anywhere next year, either. Ben Carson offered a similar plan he compares to "tithing" in church. It doesn't have a prayer.
America remains wedded to a progressive tax system of sorts that allows making the tax rates flatter by lowering them across the board.
As John F. Kennedy's tax plan started to do in the 1960s, and as Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s by lowering all the income tax rates, with the top rate reduced to 28 percent.
For the most part, the candidates are also following this approach by further lowering the rates to foster stronger economic growth, new business formation and better paying, full-time jobs.
Hillary Clinton's plan for the economy is to raise taxes on investors and businesses, and to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as President Obama has proposed.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said her plan would kill at least half a million jobs, as employers are forced to cut their payrolls just to stay in business.
CBO's report said job losses could soar to as many as a million.
Clinton and Democrats in Congress are fully aware of CBO's analysis, but dismissed its findings, as they have turned a deaf ear to the economy's sub-par performance since 2009.
But not the GOP candidates who honestly faced it head on this week, saying it would hurt job growth.
"I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is," said billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump.
"Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of of jobless people increases," particularly among younger, entry level, lower income black workers, said Carson.
The former neurosurgeon said the question that needs to be asked is, "How do we allow people to ascend the ladder of opportunity rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent?"
There are other ways to raise incomes for those at the bottom of the wage scale and those with middle incomes, too.
Boost economic growth and new business formation by cutting small business tax rates. That, in turn, will enlarge the job market, forcing employers to compete for available workers through higher wages and benefits.
The debate over illegal immigration also drew a good workout out on Tuesday, with Trump defending his plan to round up 11.3 million undocumented Hispanics and their families and deport them back to Mexico.
"We are a country of laws. We need borders. We will have a wall, the wall will be built, the wall will be successful," Trump said.
But Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a bitter opponent of Trump's deportation plan, said it will never happen.
"For the 11 million people, come on folks. We all know you can't pick them up and ship them across the border," Kasich said. "It's a silly argument. It's not an adult argument."
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who speaks Spanish fluently and whose wife is Hispanic said that it would tear families apart, forcing them to leave children behind who were born in America.
"They're doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this," Bush said. "That's the problem with this. We have to win the presidency, and the way you win the presidency us to have practical plans."
Shortly after Bush said that, Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon tweeted, "We actually are doing high-fives right now."
The Hispanic community is one of the largest and fastest growing blocs of voters in our country and recent elections show that the party that campaigns for their vote wins and the one that doesn't loses.
President George W. Bush won re-election in 2004 with 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, a nine point jump over his winning vote in 2000.
But Obama won a whopping 66 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 compared to Sen. John McCain's 23 percent.
In 2012, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ran on a plan to "self-deport" illegal Hispanics.
Obama won 71 percent of Hispanic voters, compared to Romney's 27 percent.
According to Democratic insiders, Clinton is mounting the largest campaign for Hispanic voters in the party's history.