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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Freak Show Tonight!

The phrase “debt and entitlements” reflects a misguided, inside-the-Beltway financial mindset. Economist Dean Baker had the same reaction I did: why tie debt to “entitlements” (Social Security and Medicare), rather than defense or other government spending – especially when Social Security is forbidden by law from contributing to federal deficits?

This is not the first time Social Security has been badly served in this year’s debates. The third most popular question submitted for October 9’s so-called “town hall” debate was, “Do you support expanding, and not cutting, Social Security’s modest benefits?” It became even more timely after this week’s announcement that Social Security’s next cost of living adjustment will be a “measly” 0.3 percent, an average monthly increase of only $5 per month, despite the fact that drug prices and other medical costs have soared.

But that question was never asked. And Wallace’s “debt and entitlements” phrasing suggests that he’ll use the moderator’s role to misinform viewers about Social Security, much as Martha Raddatz did in the 2012 vice-presidential debate.

As for the other subjects: “Foreign hot spots” is an odd phrase. Why this penchant for euphemisms? Why not say “military concerns,” or “armed conflicts,” or simply “war”? That topic certainly warrants more debate. And asking these two candidates about “fitness to be president” is just an invitation to trade insults – which, in this race, is about as necessary as encouraging 1964’s Muhammad Ali to insult Sonny Liston.--RE

A clear and concise view of what happens tonight, which is why I have no interest in watching or listening to the bullshit.


TS

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