Backchannel the Debate
Join your fellow Civic Commoners for a civic backchannel discussion about the debate and the issues brought forth by the candidates.
Join your fellow Civic Commoners for a civic backchannel discussion about the debate and the issues brought forth by the candidates.
My 9-year-old daughter is quite excited for the debate. Glad to see her take such an interest in politics. She keeps wondering how anyone could be Republican.
The problem with Romney is that he's promising everything - tax cuts for everyone, more military, more health care, more medicare - and yet there's no pain. I worry that folks will find Romney appealling because he's not saying where the cuts and pain would come.
Alright, backchannelers, your closing statements, please. Take as long as you want.
At the end of the day, politics is just politics; and each of these men will say whatever is necessary to gain votes, period- even if that is far from the reality of what they stand for or will do as President. We are in a season in which business and economics are of the most critical concern for this 4 year period. If that is my only criteria, there is no comparison for who should be leading the nation the next four years. We have a self-made, business saavy millionaire running against a man who appeared almost childlike by comparison in this arena tonight
Anyone remember the promises to collaborate and find common ground from four years ago?
Lengthy post but this is what I've come up with in terms of a basic idea on how to change Washington.... it's a post to a friend on Facebook.
A revolution is in fact what we need. So I propose a peaceful one that uses the system to change the system It starts with the creation of a 3rd party. I used to refer to it as the Middle of the Road Party but now call it the United Party. After all, how can we solve our problems if we are not first United on some very core basic goals.What are these goals? Jobs, Tax Policy (economy), EDUCATION, infrastructure. Leave the emotional issues on the table for right now as they don't move our country forward in terms of growth. That is not to say they're unimportant, but they don't solve problems for the greater good or the good of the whole.The United Party would organize and run in elections in every state at the federal level. They would campaign on those 4 principles. They would do this campaign as a United team. They would collectively raise funding to push this message forward. They would work to get elected collectively. Let's face it, it doesn't matter which party is in power, if they can continue to fight with each other and keep their cushy jobs, they have no motivation to really solve problems.When they get into office they have another mission aside from those 4 principles, eliminate career politicians. Restructure the system so that there is a term limit. Stagger the terms to keep new blood and old blood in the system in order to provide stability. Perhaps have a higher level advisory team that is elected to help maintain stability but they have no voting power. The point is, restructure the system so that the people elected to serve this country do so. Get in, get the job done, get out. Restructure these life long benefits as well.In terms of jobs, provide financial incentives to companies to employ people. Maybe provide small tax penalties for those that don't. Provide financial incentives for lending systems (either loans or investments from banks or private equity) to spur growth of new businesses. I ran a company and I can tell you funding is incredibly challenging. At some point the owner is left holding the bag even though they truly were real job creators. Provide organizations to help educate new business startups, and those businesses that do that should be successful but if they fail, provide some sort of debt relief if they've met all the qualifications. As it stands, given the high penalty for failure, I have no desire to run another company. Have successful companies pay back into the system that helps provide the organizations that made them successful.Fund education. Don't like prison costs? Don't like welfare recipients? Don't like crime? Educate people. Want to see more growth and entrepreneurship? Want to see more job creators? EDUCATE people. I'd go so far as to propose a federal education tax whereby companies that make X (and X is a large number) put 5 or 10% into this education fund. This fund then is distributed per student to the states. I'm sure the tea party folks would have a fit about this but we have significant pools of corporate wealth in certain segments of the population (think Silicon Valley). Imagine how much better our society would be if we had stronger educational institutions. Imagine the quality of employees these companies would benefit from if this were done. We as a country are going backwards when it comes to educating our citizens.Infrastructure - not everything can be done by private sector. Or at least there is a need for private sector and public sector to get big jobs done. We need a better power grid, little seems to be done about it. Some of the greatest aspects of our country are its natural parks. We have bridges and roads in dire straights. These pieces of the country will and do play a critical role in meeting the other objectives.So there is your revolution. Now you have a 3rd party that prohibits the two parties from grid locking the country. You have a tie breaker and decisions can't be shafted because of that fact. You also have a party that is truly aimed at serving the people. That's my two cents.
Voters should indicate whether this is something they actually want and vote accordingly / part of the problem is saying one thing and voting for another - the intransigence? Some of that is what some voters actually want - electeds to "stand their ground" and stick to their principles, or they say. The problem is - we cannot govern that way, and a good leader, IMO, know that and live that and tell voters that.
So, capitalism with a safety net.
On the health care issue, I've always had trouble understanding the opposition to health care reform, particularly because we're all already paying for the uninsured and the mandate was a way to deal with that. It's an incongruence I've never understood.
The fact that we are paying for the uninsured (and how much we are paying) is something people really understand because it is several layers deep. It is both hard to put specific dollar figures to (since some of it is paid by the government(s), some by individuals without insurance (who are charged as much as 2000% more (based on bills I have tracked this year) for their care than the insurance company is billed, and some through however it is that providers fold in costs that are discharged in bankruptcy, and so on. And people tend to react more strongly when there is a face attached to money. In this case, either their own being forced to buy insurance - or all those undeserving poor people who are individually being given free insurance.
If you have never experience the randomness of the medical lottery - and have never been hit with bills that run into thousands of dollars several times a year (or more) - it really is a hard pill to swallow to have to pay a few thousand dollars and feel as if you are just throwing money away.
Romney keeps using "trickle down" to describe Obama. what's your opinion of that turn of phrase?
Romney's Roles of Government statements are essentially the same as Obama's: life, liberty, pursuit of happiness...
Agree on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but they provided totally different examples. The fact that Mitt mentioned the military first to ensuring life and liberty, that bothers me. We can ensure those things without the use of force. Sure we need a strong military as a deterrent, but is that what we invest in first to ensure life and liberty?
Good point, Jason. Many of us remember Cold War years when we dealt with Iron Curtain countries with ultimatums. Those were very, very worrisome, terrifying years of arms races and an out of countrol military industrial complex. We need to enter an age of finesse with diplomacy. Ultimatums and arms races and buying military hardware that we don't need are not the answers.
I think the problem is that Lehrer has been a terrible moderator... It seems like Romney has had every single last word. Obama is playing to the rules more so than Romney, but I don't know how this is an appropriate format. I am just annoyed with this whole thing.
The role of government: a great philosophical question, what's the mission of government?
Does the federal government has a responsibility to help ensure a high quality public education?
Romney says he likes some ideas, but wants to take money out and give it to private schools.
Obama says budgets matter because budgets reflect choices--and then he pivots to taxes again. (groan)
I have argued for a long time that there is a hierarchy of governmental duties: http://clevelandsandwichboard.blogspot.com/2011/09/port-deli-681-8th-avenue-new-york-ny.html
Romney says no pre-existing conditions; children can stay on parent plans. How does that get paid for if not a greater pool of premium payers. The math, sadly, does not work.
Romney's plan (the most specific details I have heard) would create high deductible plans (~$5000/year, combined with some form of HSAs). Those work reasonably well for people with routine health care needs and the ability to set aside money.
I have used such plans for - since until very recently they made much more economic sense since I typically don't spend more than a few hundred dollars a year on medical care for myself. I take no regular prescription medications and have only had medical expenses that would have exceeded $5000 perhaps 6 years in my adult life. I would have (and did) buy that kind of plan and would have saved money overall. The variety I bought cost me around $200/year. The insurance companies would have made money as well selling it to me.
They do not work well for people whose medical expenses far exceed $5000 every year (like both the other members of my family). Pretty much anyone with regular medication needs or even a mild chronic illlness falls into this category.
They do not work well for relatively healthy people who cannot afford to save for a rainy health year, because in those years when costs exceed $5000, anyone who has not been able to save will still be out of luck for health care.
How smart is it to call out an Ohio org like the Cleveland Clinic? Zing alright
Above all, I am enjoying the fact that we have both sides represented in this back channel conversation.
How many people will this debate actually persuade? Seems to me this election is already decided in terms of how individuals are going to vote.
Twitter tweets indicate strong sense that Jim Lehrer is getting walked over by Romney. Anyone else think that? How is the moderator and format working for you?
OK, we're now on to Obamacare. Repeal or not? What do you think and why?
on a side note, wouldn't it be remarkable if Obama actually said, "Look, I wanted universal care, a single payer system, but I knew I could never get that through congress, and I didn't want to put insurance companies out of business. So, I went to the middle."
I recall Paul Ryan at the convention reaming Obama for spending all his time on Obamacare when we need jobs. He then said we still need jobs. He then followed that up with "when we're in office the first thing we'll do is fight to repeal Obamacare."
I ran a small business, health care was never something that crushed my efforts.
Absolutely repeal; having an unelected board that decides what is covered and what is not is simply unethical. As a matter of fact, I don't know how the world at large does not know history well enough not to repeat it. Some time ago, there was a politician who ran on the platform of "Change", was elected, and immediately sought to create universal healthcare. He did, and used it as a springboard to advance his own immoral agenda. The man's name was Adolf Hitler, and that didn't work out so well for the nation he governed
To me, immorality is immorality. Obama is surely not as overtly sinister or violent as an Adolf Hitler, but from a governmental standpoint, a monumental liar and a trivial liar stand hand in hand. Obama has made flat out statements and promises in the past that have been proven to be utterly false today. There has never been a President to date who has strategically tried to steer our nation away from the moral fabric upon which it was built
Romney just accused Obama of not trying to collaborate with Republicans--I remember it differently. I remember Obama specifically staking out a plan to collaborate with insurers, health care providers, and Congress. GOP congressional reps were very obstructionist.
Don't repeal - unless it is immediately replaced with single payer.
The ONLY reason my daughter is still in school is because of the Affordable Care Act. She hit the age at which she could no longer be covered unless she was a full time student or working full time. Two chronic illnesses mean she cannot be a full time studnt - but she had to repeatedly enroll for full time hours then drop classes. When the ACA took effect, she was on the verge of being put on academic suspension because she was not completing enough hours.
Her health care costs $40,000-$60,000 a year. In a good year. She cannot afford insurance (if a private insurer would voluntarily cover her), and she cannot afford to be without insurance. She is on my insurance and now has complteted a full year at 8-9 hours (about what she can manage), and when she is on her own she will have guaranteed access to insurance with premiums she can affford.
Individuals with the kind of expensive conditions like my daughter will not survive on a free market basis insurance.
And - the only specific proposal I have seen from Romney requires high deductible plans (~$5000/year). As an occasional expense that might work - but people like my daughter cannot afford to pay $5000 each and every year.
Romney just said Dodd Frank is killing small and regional banks. Is that correct?
I think there's some truth to that claim. I work in banking, and I can tell you that my bank gets offers every month from smaller banks looking to sell. The cost of compliance with the regulations is proving to be very burdensome for smaller banks, and they're looking for exit strategies.
Typical npr nonsense.... We do not need a balanced approach. We need to cut the dickens out of the government. We are growing them far too much... Spread the wealth has never ands will never work. Ask any communist leader.
My wife has been a nurse for over 30 years. As President Obama is explaining the negative effects of Romney's voucher system and AARP's support for his approach, Obamacare, she is saying, "Amen, if Romney's system goes into effect, insurance companies will get wise and costs will definitely rise for seniors."
I love that the audience is silent - it can get too distracting.
Quick business item: be sure to refresh the page frequently.
Romney just told me that Social Security and Medicare will be around when I get old, but how? Can I get some details?
Obama speaks about saving, but never generates cuts. Government has grown dramatically over his term. That increases expenditures. There is a long list....of increases where are the decreases?
NYT factchecking disputes that:
The problem is most folks are ignorant about facts. I often hear wealthy versus poor. Nonsense. The rich have no impact on what the poor can do. i have been poor twice In my life. No one got me out of that situation or prevented me from getting out of it. Hard work, luck, and persistence did. I did it myself without government help.
I was waiting for Obama to provide some specifics as he was asking for Romney to provide some. Much of what I heard was typical talking points and, from my view, easily dismantled. I was hoping that Romney would take the gloves off and come down hard on much of the nonsense i heard for our president. I think he played it safe.
It's only been 36 minutes, but so far I think this is awful.
They have toned down now that they have moved off taxes and economics, but both of them have been speaking in shorthand, using labels for legislation that most people have heard of by name, only, and most probalby can't even identify what the legislation applies to (let alone whether it is says, or is good or not).
Speaking to us as if we are intelligent is good, but speaking in a language which is not accessible to most listeners who aren't buried in the details on a regular basis puts it out of reach.
Romney just pushed back on Obama's claim that there are tax breaks for sending jobs overseas. need a fact check.
I have found several articles which suggest that U.S. companies which shut down US plants and open overseas plants can take a deduction for the moving expenses. Here is President Obama's Bluepring (which mentions it), but I'm looking for a more neutral source.
Seen on Twitter: "MITT ROMNEY IS GONNA MURDER SNUFFLUPAGUS!"
What level of spending cuts and revenue increases would you support?Obama says $2.50 in cuts and $1 in revenue increases.
Right. If tax breaks are offset with loopholes, then the same people will be paying the same amounts, with the only diference being the published tax rates, which will appear to be lower. This changes nothing, unless you are in fact shifting the burden to the middle class.
This is where being president pays off: Obama's working knowledge of how cuts etc and budgets really work and what really can and cannot be done just sounds more authentic - accurate? not sure but far less pie in the sky
Obama keeps repeating the script he has been handed, because that's what he knows how to do. Romney actually knows how to talk with depth and resonance about how our economy works.
When it comes to business, it seems that Romney's education and knowledge on the subject dwarfs Obama. He is right to call for the mediator to "change the topic"
Which study on taxes can you trust? Which candidate is providing the specifics on their tax plans?
OK, taxes. Obama is challenging Romney on his tax plan and on having moved on the plan he had been running on. Can anyone fact check this? Has Romney shifted?
Taxes on small businesses when the income is taxed at the owner's rate: Would increasing the personal income tax rate (which impacts Schedule C businesses) discourage those businesses from hiring? (And are those businesses responsible for employing a significant number of employees?)
A very good analysis at the link below. A caution, though, if I lost you at "Schedule C" you may need a tax refresher to plow through it.
The conclusion: Barack Obama's tax increase will impact around 500,000 individual business owners (people who are not eligible for corporate tax rates but who actually have employees) whose income, after expenses, exceeds $200,000. Those individual business owners employ around 652,000 employees.
If an owner is considering hiring an employee, the owner is already poised to take an income hit in the amount of that salary (taxes, benefits, etc.) of the potential hire. Paradoxically, a tax increase decreases the income impact of hiring an employee and may make hiring an employee cheaper than if the tax rates are left as is.
Hiring an employee, as a Schedule C employer, works the same way charitable deductions do with respect to your own taxes if you itemize deductions. Whatever you pay your employee directly reduces your income - saving the you (the employer) taxes. If taxe rates are higher, reducing the your income by the cost of an employee saves you more in taxes. Effectively the money spent on the employee at a 39.5% tax rate only costs you 60.5 cents on the dollar (becuase of the reduction in personal income taxes that would otherwise have been paid had you just pocketed the money). Without a tax increase (Romney's plan) that same employee would cost you 65 or 67 cents on the dollar.
There are, of course, other considerations - but - considering the impact of the increased tax rate alone if you are at the point of considering hiring an employee, increasing personal taxes might just nudge you toward hiring, rather than against.
I suppose Romney did not ask a question because that would give Obama more time to talk, so talking yourself is better.
OK, energy independence is clearly a theme that we're going to hear a lot about. I don't think Romney has said much about alternative energy (though I may have missed something). I did hear him say he loves coal. And I heard Obama say he wants more domestic production (which I think means natural gas, oil and coal) and he has voiced support for alternative energy.
"Jobs" was the question, President Obama. Not much about jobs in the answer. Nice "pivot", I guess (NPR article today). On the other hand, Romney seemed to address the question better, though he slipped in other ideas, too. Obama responded with a pivot about the educational system - not really jobs, though I guess it can apply to education jobs. Both mention closing the deficit, slightly off topic, obama pivoting into tax cuts...
Do you agree with Mitt Romney's five point plan to economic recovery?
Starting with jobs. And not surprising, really, that Lehrer and the producers selected this as the starting place. Obama is going through history we all know. What do you think a president can actually do to help create jobs? Is that the best question?
Seems to me education can solve many of the programs. I've been working on trying to answer the question of "how many children on government assistance that receive a quality K-12 education go back to government assistance?" I think that might be one of the most powerful numbers in terms of growing the economy. Less people on assistance, more people as producers into the system. Win. So, I agree, Dan, education is our greatest move to grow our nation.
The only jobs government can create are government jobs. The best thing government can do to create jobs is to get out of the way of the private economy--and a lot must be done to unburden the private economy from the restraints of the currently expansive federal government.
OK, I know Jonathan isn't going to base his vote on the outcome of this staged drama, but what are you looking for tonight? Strong answers? Vulnerabilties exposed? We know they'll be focused on domestic issues--which issues do you want them to speak on?
Dan, there won't be anything new said tonight. What each candidate says will be rehearsed, scripted, and staged. A lot of it will be dishonest spin; some will be outright lies; a bit will be sleight of hand. However, the turning point in these types of debates seems to have less to do with any substance, but with personality--humor, a witty retort, an unexpected gaffe, a petulant gesture.
The debate is almost underway, be sure to refresh the page in order to see the latest comments, thoughts, and ideas.
I can't believe that people make important decisions like voting for President based on a staged drama.
The first presidential debate of the 2012 election begins tonight at 9pm. It can be seen on most news networks or online on Youtube.
Jason, thanks to you and all your staff for a creating a powerful tool to engage any individual to debate the critial, yet compliciated issues that face them today.
"Freedom is hammered out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate." - Hubert Humphrey
Sincerely,Your Levin College of Urban Affairs Classmate