Original post at http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/allanbevere/ROss/~3/5CozXLSZlyY/election-2012-staying-on-message-in.html
The 2012 candidates, President Obama and Governor Romney, have now been identified. Each has had plenty of time to look under the hood for a careful study of the U.S. debt/deficit problem. So far, their proposals fall well short of the target supported by many budget analysts of stabilizing the debt at about 60% over the next decade.
Both candidates can improve their platforms on fiscal and budget issues, and both probably will. Even so, in an aggressive, noisy campaign, the public may not fully understand the candidates' positions. After all, precision and clarity have never been the hallmarks of presidential campaign advertising.
The incumbent Democrat has eschewed the high standards of his own Debt Commission (Bowles-Simpson) Report, and instead has proposed small tax increases and small spending cuts. The challenging Republican has promised tax cuts aplenty, but his overall economic plan needs clarification, especially since he endorsed the rigorous expense-cutting of the Paul Ryan Budget Plan.
The American people deserve a full debate and discussion on our fiscal problems. With four $1 trillion deficits in row and a debt ratio over 70%, the Washington response of both political parties has been to "kick the can down the road." Kicking the can is political-speak for saddling future generations with this generation's refusal to meet its own obligations.
Because the fiscal problem is so important, the public interest would be well served if at least one of the fall debates were reserved for discussion of the debt, the deficit, and the budget. But, to ensure that the public is fully informed, searching questions should phrased by experienced, bi-partisan budget experts, and put to the candidates, as often as necessary, by skilled questioners.
Candidates can be as evasive as they wish, but slippery answers will be as revealing as bad answers, especially if the question is posed more than once.
The general idea is to guarantee, insofar as possible, that the candidates respond directly to unpleasant questions about the country's dire financial condition. Candidates love to talk about more tax cuts, and about preserving entitlements. That's easy. The hard part is telling the people about the difficult decisions that must be made so that future generations will not be subjected to slow growth, high interest rates and a lower standard of living.
The entire post, "How About a Presidential Debate on Hard Fiscal Issues?" can be read here