The first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney will be held on Wednesday, October 3rd in Denver, Colorado. Citizens everywhere are looking forward to this debate because much is at stake in the outcome of this election.
A number of very important questions have been discussed in the public domain. The more prominent ones will be addressed here. The first thing on the minds of voters concerns the direction which America and the world are headed. A related question is America's role in the world and the limits of Manifest Destiny.
Do we carry a big stick or are we part of a coalition of countries with common goals and ways of implementing them? This related question is important because it gets to the heart of financial and military commitments which will be required over time. Our role in nation building is another key question to debate.
The next area is balancing the federal budget consistent with incremental growth in the GDP, as well as a more robust tax revenue base achieved from a thriving economy at some point. The debate needs to focus on how and when the federal budget will achieve balance, as well as strategies to stay that way. There are models for budget balancing in the years 1973 and again in 2000.
Health care delivery systems are another issue. The Patient Care and Affordable Act is scheduled for full implementation by 2014. Voters need to know how the current Social Security System will be impacted by The Act or the Ryan/Wyden Plan. In addition, the candidates should opine on whether or not the overall goals of the public health care systems should promote disease management or health and wellness.
In addition, the debate should focus on taxing junk food, soda, beer, cigarettes and potentially marijuna in order to obtain the revenues needed to preserve the existing public health systems and programs. A related question is reforming the Tax Code to raise additional revenues through a flat tax, applying consumption taxes to the underground economy or excess consumption taxes on non - nutritive foodstuffs.
Another important issue is creating enough energy to support American industry, consumers and possibly energy exports. Growth in solar energy, wind, geothermal, nuclear fusion, coal gasification, natural gas, ocean wave and related modalities need to be discussed, as well as safety issues in all of the energy modalities. Nuclear power plant safety is a continuing concern in light of random earthquakes and other contingencies.
The government's role in safety regulation should focus on the approach each candidate will take for energy production and the necessary regulation to protect the public and the environment from avoidable harm, as well as random Acts of G - d.
America's population has grown at a robust rate of nearly a million people a year since 2000. Candidates should address this population growth and its impact on reducing the unemployment rate, increasing tax revenues, maintaining the current infrastructure, preserving the social safety net and managing domestic tranquility now and in the future.
Although the Vix Index has stabilized since 2008, the debates need to focus on how investors will be protected from intermarket gyrations in the riskier derivative financial products. Will counterparties assume the risks of loss or will margin requirements be put into place to reduce exposure to investors and the stock market itself ?
The October 3rd debate will give Americans a glimpse of the candidates speaking extemporaneously, as well as the benefits and limitations of the various approaches offered. Voters should tune in and listen attentively.
____________________________ The First Presidential Debate _________________________
The first debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney commenced at 9 p.m. on October 3, 2012. The venue was at the University of Denver. Jim Lehrer of the PBS NewsHour moderated the debate. The main focus of tonight's debate was domestic policy. Specific areas for discussion included the economy, the role of government and the process of governing. In summary, the candidates made the following statements with President Obama opening the debate.
President Obama opened by discussing the stock market crash of '08. Obama explained that over 5 million jobs were created in the recent 30 months, that housing is beginning to move forward and that taxes have been cut. Obama cited the "Race to the Top" program implemented in 46 states and the hiring of 100 thousand new math and science teachers. In addition, he cited investments in wind and solar power energy.
Obama stressed that he lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times and that 97% of small businesses have not seen taxes go up. Obama criticized unfunded wars and explained his own cuts to discretionary spending of nearly a trillion dollars.
Obama went on to state that his $716 billion dollar Medicare savings meant that insurance companies will no longer be overpaid for basic services. Instead, the Medicare savings will go for funding prescription drugs. Obama explained that putting Medicare under a voucher system could result in costing seniors a lot more. Ultimately, he explained that Medicare does a better job of minimizing administrative costs than a private enterprise outfit would do. At bottom, a voucher system could put seniors at the mercy of insurers.
Obama explained that patients could keep their own insurance and that children could remain insured under a parental plan until age 26. Obama explained that his plan would result in rebates and that group rate plans would drive costs down by 18% or more. Obama stated that his plan was tried and worked well in Massachusetts without destroying jobs. In addition, Obama praised the work of the Cleveland Clinic in reducing costs while providing quality healthcare. He fears that repealing Obamacare could result in 50 million people losing insurance.
Obama stressed that budgets reflect choices. He feared that cutting taxes could result in also cutting things like education. Obama cited the efficiency of community colleges in crafting education programs that provide skills that employers need. Obama explained that his education programs cut out banks as the middle man to provide more affordable student loans directly to students.
Obama explained that his programs in implementation would make the middle class stronger. His administration pushed through three trade deals which would result in higher exports. He cited the newly found pride auto workers have in building American cars again in record numbers. In addition, the dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are ended or winding down. Obama praised the fight to end the excesses on Wall Street and praised the Dodd/Frank legislation to regulate the financial sector. Obama concluded by stating that he would fight every day on behalf of the American people.
Former Governor Romney opened by discussing the cornerstone of his programs which would include creating 4 million new jobs by pursuing energy independence, opening up more trade to Latin America, supporting education, balancing the federal budget and strengthening small business. Romney indicated that new business start-ups are down and that trickle down government has not worked.
Romney explained that his programs will not add to the deficit. He stressed that he will not support decreasing taxes on the wealthy. Instead, his administration would cut taxes for the middle class. Romney indicated that 54% of the people work for small business. He criticized the Obama Administration for increasing tax rates on small business from 35% to 40%. Romney explained that lowering tax rates for small business would grow the economy and balance the budget through more tax revenues.
Romney explained that he would not cut taxes that add to the deficit. In addition, he decried the fact that the number of people on federal food stamps grew from 32 million to 47 million people. Romney stressed that we cannot spend more than the government receives in tax revenues. He would lower spending, cut out Obamacare, cut some subsidies and increase government operational efficiency. He criticized President Obama for accumulating more debt than any other previous president combined.
Romney took on a $2.8 billion dollar tax break for oil companies and contrasted that with $90 billion dollars of federal money that went to green energy. He stated that you picked losers like Solyndra. Romney would like to send Medicaid money back to the individual states who could the money more wisely and efficiently.
Romney indicated that the Ryan/Wyden plan would result in no change for current retirees or people near retirement. He explained that cutting $716 billion dollars from Medicare would result in physicians opting out of Medicare. He wants the Medicare Program to be there for younger people too. Romney would repeal Obamacare because it would cost over $2500 more for insurance than current pricing. Romney believes that the private sector could provide better choices for people.
Romney indicated that consumers need transparency in the financial sector, as well as limits on leveraging transactions on Wall Street. He believes that the Dodd/Frank legislation is too much regulation. In addition, Romney criticized the idea of banks being too big to fail. Romney would repeal Obamacare because it would cost over $2500 more for insurance than current pricing. In addition, he fears having an unelected Independent Payment Advisory Board of people who might disturb the relationship between physicians and their patients.
Romney praised what he did for health care in Massachusetts without raising taxes or putting into place an advisory board. In addition, he explained that he worked with a legislature which was almost exclusively people from the Democratic Party. He explained that people with pre-existing conditions would be covered under the Ryan/Wyden Plan, as well as coverage for young adults on their parents' plan up until age 26. Romney explained that the Cleveland Clinic experience is a private sector plan. He explained that government should not direct doctors and tell them how to treat patients.
Romney explained how President Reagan reduced tax rates to grow the economy. He explained that great schools are needed like in Massachusetts which rates first in the nation. He cited the Declaration of Independence and the need to protect life, liberty, religious freedom, care for the elderly and the pursuit of happiness. Romney would like individuals to have the right to pursue their dreams. He decried the fact that 23 million people are out of work and that 50% of college graduates cannot find work. Romney would like federal funds to follow each child rather than an allocation to a bureaucracy alone. Romney would not cut funding to education.
The debate closed with the candidates being greeted by family members on stage. Both President Obama and Former Governor Romney performed well in the first debate. Neither candidate stumbled in any major way.
The candidates do differ in their approach to government. President Obama believes that the government has a role to play in health care, education and regulating financial institutions. Former Governor Romney believes that financial institutions need some regulation in areas like transparency and leveraging limits. He would put more Medicaid money in the hands of the states, as opposed to the federal government. In addition, he would not cut taxes for the rich. Instead, he would cut taxes for the middle class small businesses.
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Dr Joseph S Maresca (JSMaresca)
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