Lawrence Kudlow‘s latest column at Human Events assesses Republican presidential candidates’ policies to promote economic growth.

The singular economic issue of our time is the quest for more rapid economic growth. In the past century the American economy grew at roughly 3.5 percent per year. That included huge booms and even worse busts, such as the Great Depression.

But over the past 15 years that growth has slumped to roughly 2 percent per annum. This has put average Americans in a cranky mood. They want change.

Though a list of current economic wrongs could go on forever, I see three major problems: an uncompetitive business tax code that blocks investment and job creation; a burdensome state-run regulatory apparatus; and an erratic monetary policy that has undermined the value of the dollar.

So, from the debates, how do the Republican presidential candidates stack up?

Most of the GOP candidates have pro-growth tax-cutting plans that would lower marginal tax rates on personal and business income. These plans would reinvigorate the incentive rewards for work, saving and investment. Good.

But two candidates — Ted Cruz and Rand Paul — have proposed value-added taxes (VATs) on the corporate side. I think this is a big mistake, one that opens the door to big-government mischief.