The Corner

The Questions I’d Ask During the Debates

Here are a few questions I would like to ask the candidates at one point or another:

The United States has dropped to 18th in the index of economic freedom, losing seven spots between this year and last.

  • Do the candidates understand the fundamental role economic freedom has played in our country’s prosperity?

  • Do they know that economic freedom is the best way to build intangible assets, such as the rule of law or sound money?

  • Do they know that these assets — including freedom — are what explain most of the differences in productivity between us and countries like Mexico?

  • Do they understand the role that the size of government, overspending, fiscal- and monetary-regime uncertainty, the threat of tax hikes, and regulation play in our economic-freedom ranking?

Unemployment remains fairly high, especially when taking into account the large drop in labor participation:

The real class warfare is the one taking place between older and younger generations:

Social Security is on a terribly unsustainable path:

  • Do they understand that extending the payroll-tax cut is not going to stimulate the economy?

  • Do they understand that extending the payroll-tax cut continues to expose the fiction that Social Security benefits are fully backed by payroll-tax contributions, and hence, can’t be reformed?

  • Do they understand that the only way to save Social Security is to reform it?

The president insists that a balanced approach to solving our debt problem is the answer and some Republicans are willing to raise taxes to avoid defense-spending cuts:

  • Do they know that the academic literature shows that the “balanced approach” is absolutely the wrong way to reduce our debt-to-GDP ratio?

  • Do they know that cutting spending is the most effective way to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio?

  • Do they know that increasing taxes is not a successful way to reduce our debt?

  • Do they know what the impact of raising taxes come January will have on the economy?

There has been a lot of focus on income inequality:

  • Do they know that making the federal tax system more progressive won’t address concerns of inequality because the system is already extremely progressive, more so, in fact than countries with less inequality?

  • Do they know that, while income mobility may not be what we would like it to be, it is not as bad as many claim?

Fifty-five percent of Americans say the government has too much influence in their lives:

That’s it for now.

Update: Here are great questions–asked in the proper debate form–suggested by George Will.


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