Crying Over Spilled Milk

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Women Gone Missing

There was style. Governor Romney is generally judged to have won on performance. President Obama was said to not really showed up. But it was substance that in fact took the night off.  Among the innumerable topics either glossed over, grossly distorted or outright ignored were, for instance, the vital economic issues that affect American women.  Bryce Covert of the Nation writes that Women Went Missing in Last Night’s Presidential Debate:

Twice as many women over the age of 65 live in poverty as compared to men. Social Security is basically the only source of income for about a third of women over the age of 65, compared to less than a quarter of men. Without it, half of female beneficiaries would live in poverty. Same story with Medicare: the majority of beneficiaries are women.

Romney talked up his plan to overturn the Affordable Care Act as fast as he can. That includes the mandate that insurance cover contraception as a preventative care service without a co-pay, a provision that Ryan has said his team would undo on “day one.” That means women will go back to shelling out nearly $12,000 over their lifetimes for hormonal birth control. But the ACA also undoes gender rating, saving women $1 billion a year in paying more for the same services. Obama could have easily brought up either to demonstrate how anti-woman the pledge to repeal the ACA really is. He could have also mentioned the first bill he signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which Romney has struggled with.

Immigration Reform

As I wrote in my article, Immigration Reform Would Create Millions of Jobs and Revitalize the Economy, the US needs the labor and purchasing power of productive immigrants. They are a leading driver of entrepreneurship and a major job creator. In a debate that was supposedly about domestic economics, how did this not come up?

Healthcare Reform

There was no substantive discussion of what’s really at stake in reversing the ACA, and debunking the myths about the ACA including which economic interests are behind the agenda to repeal it. There was no detailed analysis of the drivers of healthcare costs and how either candidate would begin to address those cost drivers.

Housing Issues

Jed Kolko, chief economist for the real estate analysis firm Trulia, expressed surprise that the housing crisis wasn’t mentioned considering about 31% of Americans with a home loan owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth. He concludes that housing isn’t a winning issue for either candidate:

For Obama to score points on housing, he would have to point to clear policy victories, which is a challenge for him. Romney would have to point to fresh ideas, which is also a challenge.

The List Goes On and On

Social programs, deficit deduction, tax policies, energy policy – you name it – no substantive discussion, if any at all was heard, just empty, and falsifiable rhetoric. Regarding tax policy, beyond what called Romney’s “impossible tax promise,” no realistic alternatives or substantive measures were outlined, discussed and scrutinized.

Where’s the Beef?

If you noticed that through all the zingers and distortions, few real facts ever got mentioned, and what was passed off as fact was in fact vapid political rhetoric, you’re not alone. There’s a growing body of commentary beginning to point this out. Of course, you won’t get it from either the mainstream corporate media or the partisan media enterprises. You have to rely on outlyers to get a whiff of the lack of will to really democratize economics. As I wrote here, sadly, it took the perspective of someone as far outside the mainstream as you can get, socialist Marc Luzietti to call this out:

‎”Tonight a pair of actors will recite rehearsed talking points to prearranged questions. They will be judged on the quality of their ability to remember scripted answers and act appropriately.

Sadly, some people think this is important.”

China Has a 5-Year Plan

China has released its 12th Five-Year Plan for National Strategic Emerging Industries. Yet, a polarized U.S. political system can’t even get its two political parties to get past vapid rhetorical zingers, misrepresentations and spin and agree on some way to put their heads together and come up with a working plan to put the U.S. economy on a competitive footing.