What should be asked at tonight's presidential debate?

ThinkProgress ponders "5 Questions that should be asked at the Presidential debate but probably won't be", along with their analysis of each question. Here is their list:

How will you reconcile the federal government’s War on Drugs with state-level legalization efforts?

In what cases is it acceptable to conduct warrantless surveillance of citizens?

What specific measures would you support to reduce national gun violence?

What would you do to reduce child poverty in your first 100 days?

How will you combat America’s obesity epidemic?

What are some of the questions that you think should be asked tonight, perhaps informed by our Episcopal context?

Comments (10)

My questions are for the President because there's simply no way an empty suit like Romney will be elected, and Mitt's positions are so variable it doesnt matter what he says at any given moment, anyway...

How can you justify assassinating US citizens abroad because of an accusation of terrorism?

When will the troops come home from Afghanistan?

Why don't we have a new New Deal?

I'd actually like to hear Romney's response to the last one, if only to see him pan the WPA while trying to avoid insulting the greatest President of the 20th century.

The debate is on domestic policy and is expected to focus on the poor performance of the economy and on the long run fiscal imbalance.

ThinkProgress is asking what non-economic question would you ask?

Here's the setup before the five questions. "This focus on the economy, however, blinkers voters from issues that both Obama and Romney have so far ignored. Should debate moderator Jim Lehrer want to catch them off guard tomorrow, he could pose one of these questions:"

But are any of ThinkProgress NOT about economics?

1. Drug war. Economist have a larger proportion than the general proportion who oppose the war on drugs. It's costly. It's failed. Criminalization increases violence -- competition would drive out the profitability that leads to drug violence. All points Milton Friedman made.

2. Warrantless surveillance of citizens - I concede, it would be a stretch to call this an economic issue.

3. Gun violence? See, for example, #1 above. Ask ourselves why the government spends hundreds of times on medical research than it does in research on what programs would be effective in education and in transforming dysfunctional families and neighborhoods.

4. Poverty is an economics issue, for sure.

5. Obesity? Economics. Fattening fast convenience food has become cheap. It needs to be taxed. But isn't that paternalistic? Yes, but if we all share in paying for each others healthcare that's the price you pay -- curbs on your choices that lead to your obesity and higher healthcare costs that accompany obesity.

1) How are the recipients of Social Security, Medicare or Veterans Benefits in any way "victims" asking the government to take care of them.

2) Given the abandonment of the markets to financial predators leading up to the collapse of 2008, why would any sane person entrust their retirement savings to them>

3) Is it acceptable to replace well paying jobs with lower paying jobs and call that job growth?

4) With a general pressure out there to deregulate, how would your administration prevent the repetition of past employer practices of taking shortcuts on worker safety and polluting the environment?

5) In any tax reform plan will you remove all subsidies for all industries and make American lead the way in being an actual free market? Are you prepared to see American businesses fail before foreign competitors who remain underwritten by their governments?

What about drones and attacking civilians?

How do you intend to promote and accelerate the necessary transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy?

I'd love to see a question about climate change, which hasn't been talked about at all in this campaign.

I'm also wondering if they will mention torture.

Laura Toepfer

(As long as we're all being partisan.)

President Obama, Bob Woodward was given extensive access to your White House. In his new book he concludes there are gaps in your leadership style and these contributed to the failure of achieving a grand budget bargain. How do you respond to the criticism that you are aloof, even among friends, and only talk-the-talk when it comes to building relationships with members of the opposition party?

Governor Romney,
Should your party share in the blame to come to a budget deal? There have been several commission, included the president's own, who have proposed solutions to the country's long run budget problem. Would you endorse any of them? If not, how do you propose to reign in the growth in health care costs?

President Obama, David Leonhardt of the New York Times concludes you and your economic team claim to have "done as well as could reasonably have been expected — to have avoided major mistakes — is hard to accept. They considered the possibility of a long, slow recovery and rejected it." How do you respond to the charge that you misjudged the depth of the problem and failed to all that could have been done to stimulate the economy?

Governor Romney, you have said stimulus didn't work. Does that mean that you agree the president should not have done more?

President Obama and Governor Romney, many pundits say both of you are running campaigns bereft of substance, ideas and specifics. Can you respond to this criticism of your campaign? Not the other man's campaign, your campaign.

Governor Romney - Since you believe abortion is murder, do you think the penalty for a woman performing her own abortion should be execution or life in prison as is the case for other murderers? If not, why not?

President Obama - In your first term you completely abandoned your call for letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making greater than $250,000. Will you give in on this issue again or will you at least require a compromise from the Republicans?

Governor Romney - You said you plan to cut tax rates by 20% but that this will be revenue neutral due to closing loopholes. Specifically which loopholes will you close and how much revenue will be gained as a result? And just to clarify, are you saying that everyone will pay the same dollar amount of taxes under your administration as they do under President Obama - in other words no real tax cuts?

Robert Button

For both candidates:

Margaret Thatcher wrote of those who sought support from their government, "They're casting their problem on society. And you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families" (From Statecraft by Margaret Thatcher).Do you believe there is such a thing as society? If so, what in general are the obligations of society to individuals and of individuals to society?

Marshall Scott

Oh, and if you don't believe there is such a thing as "society," what is a just approach to problems that affect large numbers of persons across lines of community, economic status, etc?

Marshall Scott

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