Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

By George Mannes
October 20, 2016
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton take part in their third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate, moderated by Chris Wallace (C), at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016.
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton take part in their third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate, moderated by Chris Wallace (C), at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, October 19, 2016.
Mike Blake—Reuters

Economists and economic commentators watching the third and final presidential debate Wednesday tweeted plenty of comments and criticism —directed not only at candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but also at moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Here are some of the highlights:

First, on the economic impact of each candidate's immigration plans, the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found extreme differences:

 

Commentators questioned the value of Trump's comparison of U.S. economic growth to that of China and India.

They also objected to Chris Wallace's characterization of President Obama's 2009 stimulus plan, which, Wallace said, "has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949."

 

Whose policies would be better—or worse—for the national debt?

One vote for Clinton was from Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist of Equitable Growth, a think tank that studies economic inequality:

But Clinton's claim that her economic plan wouldn't increase the national debt encountered some skepticism:

The anti-big-government Club for Growth argued that Clinton's economic plans, despite her protestations to the contrary, won't affect only the wealthiest Americans:

Trump's promise of economic growth seemed farfetched to Matt O'Brien of Wonkblog:

In fact, GDP under a Trump administration would actually shrink, Boushey contended:

On health care, University of Chicago's Harold Pollack objected to Trump's linking the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) to the challenges facing Social Security and Medicare:

As for Social Security, neither candidate's answers seemed satisfactory:

The conservative Club for Growth agreed with that:

At the end of it all, University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers judged the impact of the debate the way you'd expect an economist to judge the impact of the debate: by looking at the numbers.

One number he looked at was the price of the Mexican peso against the US dollar:

He also looked at prediction markets where people are betting on the outcome of the election: