Feb. 7, 2008
Clinton/Obama: 10 Questions in Search of a Debate
By Larry Elder
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?