Clinton/Obama: 10 Questions in search of a debate

Larry Elder's picture

Some suggestions for the next Democratic debate moderator:

1. Sen. Clinton, you oppose the Bush tax cuts because they unfairly benefit the rich. Since the top 1 percent of taxpayers — those making more than $364,000 annually — pay 39 percent of all federal income taxes, don’t all across-the-board tax cuts, by definition, “unfairly” benefit the rich?

2. Sen. Obama, you also oppose Bush tax cuts, and claim that they take money away from the Treasury. But President Kennedy signed across-the-board tax cuts in the 1960s and said, “It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low — and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.” Was he wrong?

3. Sen. Clinton, you criticize President Bush for inheriting a surplus and turning it into a deficit. The National Taxpayers Union added up your campaign promises, and they came to an increase of over $218 billion per year. What would this do to the deficit?

4. Sen. Obama, if elected, you promised to raise minimum wage every single year. But isn’t it true that most economists — 90 percent, according to one survey — believe that raising minimum wages increases unemployment and decreases job opportunities for the most unskilled workers? What makes you right, and the majority of economists wrong?

5. Sen. Clinton, you want universal health care coverage for all Americans — every man, woman and child. When, as First Lady, you tried to do this, 560 economists wrote President Clinton, and said, “Price controls produce shortages, black markets and reduced quality.” One economist who helped gather the signatures explained, “Price controls don’t control the true costs of goods. People pay in other ways.” Are those 560 economists wrong?

6. Sen. Obama, you once said you understand why senators voted for the Iraq war, admitted that you were “not privy to Senate intelligence reports,” that it “was a tough question and a tough call” for the senators, and that you “didn’t know” how you would have voted had you been in the Senate. And over a year after the war began, you said, “There’s not much of a difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.” How, then, can you say that you consistently opposed the war from the start?

7. Sen. Clinton, you want to begin withdrawing the troops within the first 60 days of your administration, with all the troops out within a year. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker of the Baker-Hamilton report said that such a precipitous withdrawal in Iraq would create a staging ground for al-Qaida, increase the influence of Iran over Iraq, and result in “the biggest civil war you’ve ever seen.” What would you like to say to Secretary Baker?

8. Sen. Obama, the church you attend, according to its Web site, pursues an Afrocentric agenda. Your church rejects, as part of their “Black Value System,” “middleclassness” as “classic methodology” of white “captors” to “control ... subjugated” black “captives.” Your pastor, Jeremiah Wright, recently called the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan — a man many consider anti-Semitic — a person of “integrity and honesty.” What would happen to a Republican candidate who attended a Caucasian-centric church, and who praised David Duke as a man of “integrity and honesty”?

9. Sen. Clinton, you recently criticized NAFTA, the free trade agreement signed into law by President Clinton. The conservative Heritage Foundation says that NAFTA-like free trade benefits the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico, resulting in increased trade, higher U.S. exports and improved living standards for American workers. Explain how President Clinton and the Heritage Foundation got it wrong then, but that you are right now.

10. Sen. Obama, this question is about global warming, something about which you urge extreme action to fight. You criticize President Bush for going to war in Iraq, even though all 16 intelligence agencies felt with “high confidence” that Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of WMDs. Critics of Bush say he “cherry-picked” the intelligence. Hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists consider concerns about global warming overblown. Isn’t there far more dissent among credible scientists about global warning than there was among American intelligence analysts about Iraq? If so, as to the studies on global warming, why can’t you be accused of cherry-picking?

Feel free to use these. No charge.


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JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 5:48pm.

Its pitiful watching Larry have to reach so far to find something to write about against Obama. Larry’s made a good living being a black shill for the Republicans but somebody needs to do some opposition research for him so the shilling isn’t so transparent.

#2: Larry’s going back to 1960(!) to find support for his tax argument? Uh, Larry, times have changed in the last forty or fifty years dude.

And Obama “claims” the tax cuts take money away from the treasury?

So does the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and everybody else not on the payroll of the Republican Party. CBPP and the Treasury Department find that Bush’s tax cuts will pay for less than 10% of their cost. This is Bush’s Treasury Dept. studying Bush’s tax cuts! Read it here:

No Free Lunch Here

#6: Larry wants to know how Obama can claim that he consistently opposed the war from the start?

Here you go Larry, Obama’s speech from October 2, 2002:

Obama Against Going to War with Iraq

#10: Larry asks: “Isn’t there far more dissent among credible scientists about global warning than there was among American intelligence analysts about Iraq?”

No, there isn’t. Very few credible scientists who are not doing research for Exxon/Mobile now question global warming. A few who do think we should be fighting global warming include:

The Environmental Protection Agency:

EPA's Climate Change Site

And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The UN:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The Union of Concerned Scientists

The 600 scientists at:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


NASA Global Warming

You pick who you deem credible Larry. We’ll do the same.

Feel free to use my research. No charge.

Submitted by surferdude on Mon, 03/03/2008 - 9:42pm.

Intersting how bleeding heart, anti-capitalist liberals had to change the term "global warming" to "climate change". I suspect that they did this in order to cover their bums in case temperatures became cooler than normal, like they are now. While the global warming hoaxsters continue to lie about Antarctic ice melting the latest satellite data shows record ice. Not only record ice but a third more ice than average for this time of the year. The Arctic is also doing well.

NSIDC WIST: Compare data: Sea Ice Index: Extent, Concentration, and Concentration Anomalies

Simply compare January 1980 (the first January after satellite measurements began) with January 2008. The difference is striking, 44.1% greater ice extent and 30% greater ice concentration in January 2008 compared to 1980. So much for "global" warming, if it occurred the Antarctic definitely missed out on it. Facts like this mean nothing to the anti-capitalist global warming zealots like jeffc. Their goal is to ensure that the U.S. economy suffers and so that Jimmy Carter's friend Hugo Chavez can put more pressure on our economy by driving up the price of oil.

These are the people that want to run our country and "tax the rich"
The only jobs tax increases create are government jobs. Worse are claims that energy prices will come down ... how can raising an entire energy sector's overhead make prices lower? Carter-nomics didn't work when the windfall profit tax was imposed 30 years ago, and they won't work now. It actually carves out tax breaks for Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez - courtesy of American taxpayers

sniffles5's picture
Submitted by sniffles5 on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 1:46pm.

4. Sen. Obama, if elected, you promised to raise minimum wage every single year. But isn’t it true that most economists — 90 percent, according to one survey — believe that raising minimum wages increases unemployment and decreases job opportunities for the most unskilled workers? What makes you right, and the majority of economists wrong?

No, it's not true, Larry. Thanks for asking.

For example, the state with one of the HIGHEST minimum wages, Hawaii, has paradoxically the LOWEST unemployment rate (2.8%) in the United States. On the other hand, Mississippi, a state with the LOWEST minimum wage, has the HIGHEST unemployment rate!

Why not ask your economists to explain this paradox and get back with us, m'kay?

Furthermore, I found this interesting little factoid regarding minimum wage increases:
To support their dire job loss predictions, opponents often claim that economic opinion is settled against an increase. (Sound familiar, Larry?) To the extent economists once believed that to be true, there’s been a recent sea change in their opinion and, today, a critical mass of economists voiced their solid support for an increase. In their statement, more than 560 economists unequivocally endorsed the Fair Minimum Wage Act’s proposed increase to $7.00 an hour. They agreed with a 1999 statement of the Council of Economic Advisers that solid economic research proves that past increases have had “very little or no effect on employment” and they believe “the benefits to the labor market, workers, and the overall economy would be positive.

560 economists, Larry! Just like your 560 economists!
By the way, here's the LINK

TruthSleuth1958's picture
Submitted by TruthSleuth1958 on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 1:59pm.

Because of our geographic location and other factors, the cost of living in Hawaii greatly exceeds the cost of living on the mainland. An excellent analysis of this issue appears in the 21st edition of The Federal Budget and the States, a joint study conducted by the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the office of U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. According to the study, if per capita income is measured in real terms, Hawaii ranks 47th at $19,755 compared to the national average of $24,231. This sheds a totally different light on the state's financial status.

The cost of living in Honolulu is 83 percent higher than the average of the metropolitan areas tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau, based on 1995 data. Recent studies have shown that for the state as a whole, the cost of living is more than one-third higher than the rest of the U.S. In fact, Hawaii's Cost of Living Index ranks it as the highest in the country. Some government programs take the high cost of living in Hawaii into account and funding is adjusted accordingly. These include Medicare prospective payment rates, food stamp allocations, school lunch programs, housing insurance limits, and military living expenses.

In addition to those facts of consideration, Hawaii has:

* Highest Poverty: Starting from one of the most current statistics published, Hawaii leads the nation with a 29 percent (37,746 people) increase in poverty from 1990 to 2000. The U.S. Census Bureau released final 2000 Census data showing Hawaii over the last decade has the highest increase in poverty rates of all 50 American states with 126,154 people in Hawaii living in poverty. While Hawaii experienced an increase in its poverty rate, 37 of the 50 states experienced a comparative decrease in poverty rates.

* Highest Drug Addiction: Hawaii has the worst crystal meth problem in the nation and it is destroying families and communities, according to U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo. He says 40 percent of people arrested by police in Honolulu tested positive for methamphetamine use; 30,000 Honolulu residents are "hard-core users" and as many as three times more are recreational users. The drug abuse creates child abuse -– it is associated with 90 percent of the 2,300 confirmed child-abuse annual cases in the state. In one town on the Big Island, 50 percent of teenagers are addicted to this drug. Drug use has had a role in 44 percent of the state's homicides.

* Highest Theft Rates: The FBI says of all 50 states in the year 2000, Hawaii has the highest larceny-theft crime rate as well as the second-highest overall property crime rate. Hawaii, the FBI reports, had a larceny-theft rate of 3,570 per 100,000 residents in 2000, for such crimes as car break-ins, purse snatchings and shoplifting and an overall property crime rate of 4,955 per 100,000 residents.

* High Rate of Abuse Breaks Up Families: More children in Hawaii are cared for by their grandparents, rather than their parents, than any other state. Next to Washington, D.C., the 13 percent of children in Hawaii who live with their grandparents accounts for the highest statistics in the nation, according to the Hawaii Intergenerational Network. Factors include drugs, domestic violence, incarceration and a poor economy.

* Least Freedom In Education: The Manhattan Institute annually ranks Hawaii's education system the least free in the nation. The report says Hawaii receives low marks for having only one school district for the entire state, making moving to another district essentially impossible and precluding any inter-district choice program. In addition, Hawaii offers no assistance for private school expenses, has few charter schools, and heavily regulates home schooling, the report says.

* Bad School Climate, Teaching, Funding, Results: Education Week in its 270-page report, called "Quality Counts '98: The Urban Challenge" graded states based on 75 indicators of education quality. Hawaii was assigned an "F" in school climate, which included such factors as parental involvement, class size and the number of physical conflicts reported. Education Week also graded Hawaii with a "C" in standards and assessments, a "C-" in quality of teaching, a "D-" in adequacy of education funding and a "C-" in allocating the money. The report documented that 16 percent of Hawaii's 4th- and 8th-graders scored at or above the proficient level on the 1996 National Assessment of Education Progress in math, both well below the national average.

* Worst Technology: Hawaii got an "F" in managing information technology from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University and Governing magazine.

* Worst Financial Management: Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs and Governing Magazine gave out additional grades to the state government: a "C-" in financial management; a "B-" in capital management; a "C-" in human resources; and a "C-" in managing for results. The report blamed Hawaii's poor performance on "complacency and a civil service system that hampers managers." Six other states received the same poor grade overall of a C-, and only one -- Alabama, with a "D" -- did worse than Hawaii. Katherine Barrett of Governing magazine, says Hawaii is in "worse financial shape than any other state and has an awful lot of weaknesses."

* Lowest Economic Growth, Per Capita Income: Beacon Hill Institute of Boston's Suffolk University says Hawaii doesn't compete well with only seven states ranking lower in a study of states that continue to see economy growth and high per capita income. The report says Hawaii scores low because of "anticompetitive government policies and the absence of a strong technology or finance sector." The negative rankings, according to the survey, show that Hawaii is at a competitive disadvantage because of its taxes, bond rating, budget deficit, benefits to the unemployed and high cost of living. The top 10 states according to the competitiveness survey are Delaware, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Washington, Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Connecticut Minnesota and California. The states ranking below Hawaii in the survey are Oklahoma, Alabama, Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia and Mississippi.

* A Lousy Place to Do Business: The Economist wrote a few years back: "Hawaii cannot blame all its troubles on Asia; it is also a lousy place to do business. Not only is the cost of living roughly a third higher than the American urban average, but government is far more centralized than in other states."

* Most Expensive Place To Conduct Business: Regional Financial Associates survey several years ago reported that Hawaii, next to New York, is the most expensive place in the country to do business, topping the U.S. average by 20 percent. They ranked Honolulu in the top seven most expensive markets nationally in three of the four areas they used to calculate its cost index. It is near the top for office rents, energy costs and taxes. says Honolulu is the ninth-most-expensive place to do business in the U.S.

* Most Anti-Entrepreneur Policies: The Small Business Survival Committee publishes an annual report ranking the states according to how friendly their public policies are toward small businesses and entrepreneurs with states scored on 16 separate measures. The 2000 committee index rated Hawaii number 50, or last, with the most anti-entrepreneur policy environment of any state.

* Highest Tax Burden: Lowell Kalapa, president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii, says Hawaii has the forth overall highest tax burden in the country.

* Booby Prize for Economic Development: Forbes magazine gave Hawaii the Booby Prize for Economic Development in one of its most recent issues. The story entitled: "Trouble in Paradise: Why doing business in Honolulu has become nearly equivalent to suicide" called Hawaii a "People's Republic" and a "socialistic state in which Fidel Castro would enjoy." The author noted the trend toward raiding special funds, burdens on business -- particularly small business, the high cost of operating in the state and the fact that the city repeatedly borrows money to meet its payroll. The state taxes everything that moves, the author comments.

* Ranking Low on Best Places to Do Business: Honolulu ranks number 177 of 200 on the Forbes list of Best Places to Do Business, "a dismal showing that reflects cellar-level rating in five-year wage growth, five-year job growth and high-tech GDP growth over last year."

* Worst Preparedness for Bio-Terrorism Attacks: The federal government this week ranked Hawaii as one of two states that are "worst-prepared" to distribute medicines after a bio-terrorism attack. Though the governor says this is "absolutely not true" and says Hawaii is one of the best prepared states, a federal government report disputes that claim, saying Hawaii and Wisconsin are ill prepared should there be an attack.

* Millions Wasted by State Government: The state auditor has identified in her audits hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and other tax funded resources being wasted by government bureaucrats, employees and politicians. The state House of Representatives Minority Research office also highlighted more than a half a billion dollars wasted by state government in Hawaii in a recent report published on Mike Liu, assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, says the state Housing and Community Development Corporation of Hawaii has mismanaged, wasted and abused federal money and will not produce key public records of procurement in a time where this is under investigation by federal authorities. All this waste, sometimes covered by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats, contributes to the high taxes Hawaii's people pay.

* Most Politicians In Prison, Under Indictment, Investigation: A national governing magazine says Hawaii has one of the highest rates of elected officials going to prison, being indicted or under investigation in recent years. Many politicians, from council members to former speaker of the House to powerful state Senators have been put in prison on various charges.

Here's the Link:
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