Friday, June 8, 2012

Blogging the CD 9 Debate

Yesterday I embedded the CD-9 debate and gave a brief summary of the candidates running.  It's a long debate, but I really wanted to blog the debate.  Because it's long, I'll do this in segments.  We'll see how far I'll get each night, hopefully I'll finish.  Segment one begins now:

This forum includes a subset of the candidates running from both parties

Lisa Borowski didn't show because of traffic?  Strange.  Those who did show include Andrei Cherny,
Travis Grantham, Vernon Parker, Wendy Rogers, David Schapira, Martin Sepulveda, Krysten Sinema, and  Jeff Thompson.

The forum for this debate is a basically a two minute rapid fire answers to a wide range of questions.  My first impression?  Great, this forum is perfect for sloganeering.  A lot of baseless statements with no evidence to back it up.  What's wrong with a little political wrestle mania by the way?  I want their views challenged and defended.

The debate starts with an introduction from each candidate.  Vernon Parker talks about his credentials and it seems pretty impressive, former mayor.  He nails President Obama on the debt and our high corporate income tax - now we all know that corporations don't really pay at that rate, right?  The US actually has the lowest effective corporate tax, since our tax code is riddled with loopholes.  I'll source that.

Wendy Rogers up.  She actually ran and lost two years ago for the Arizona Senate.  The Republicans have a lot of former city council-people and of course everyone owns a small business.  Is that a suitable enough stepping stone for US Congress?  I guess I'm a sucker for working your way up.  Show us you can represent a city or state legislative district, then go to Washington, but I'm open.

To be honest, I'm leaning toward David Schapira.  He jumps right in on education.  I think we have prioritized education in this country.  Hopefully he'll get specific on education refrom...  of course only in two minute bursts.

Krysten Sinema emphasizes political polarization.  Her focus will be on compromise and working together to get things done.

Cherney's focus will be on how to build up our middle class.  Looking forward to hear his suggestions on how to do it.

I sense a theme.  The Republicans have eyed federal debt as enemy number 1.  Democrats are a bit more squishy - education, the economy, the middle class.  Republicans view is to cut the debt and get government out of the way and the economy will grow.  Don't believe it.

Wendy Rogers on health care.  She rips Obamacare.  She's ex-air force and uses the VA and apparently hates it.   Then she rattles off the typical party line - portability.  She does offer one idea that's worth exploring, to allow small businesses to to pull togther and create effectively a small business health care pool.  Not sure how this is possible without some government intervention, but maybe it's possible?

Martin Sepulveda suggests tort reform as a way to keep costs down... The point here is that doctors perform unnecessary tests as protection against law suits.  I just think its human nature, when human life is at stake, to perform an extra test to be sure, especially if insurance is paying for it anyway.  Tort reform is doubtful to have much of an impact on cost.

Schapira is a cancer survivor.  Wow, I had no idea.  This is pretty poignant.  There is no free market answer to a cancer survivor.  Absolutely not, way too risky for a private company to take on someone like that.   He slipped in a nice abortion jab at the Republicans - he totally agrees government should get out of health care in some cases :-).   I am an anomoly, by the way, a pro choice democrat, so yes I want government involvement in all kinds of ways.

Sinema talks again about the importance of cooperation to solve problems and points out the popular pre-existing condition component of Obamacare.  I would love to hear the Republicans say how free market health care addresses this.  Sinema gives a really intelligent answer actually.  I'm impressed.

Chernei talks about the health care burdens on businesses.  I agree, but I think we need to shift away from employer provided health care.  Cherney talks about a lot of problems around health care, no solutions.  But how can you realistically attempt to do so in two minutes.

Travis Grantham thinks we can just get government out of the way, and the markets will solve our problems.  I don't believe it.  He compares car insurance to health insurance.  Well, if someone is willing to pay anything for the right to drive, then yeah I can see how there is an equivalence.  He touts the Republican idea to allow individuals to deduct health insurance costs.  I support this, but it doesn't help someone who has a chronic disease and insurance companies just won't touch them.  It's hard to get a tax break on something you are priced out of altogether.

Jeff Thompson is up.  Obamacare is being thrown out like it's a curse word.  He blames tort reform completely for rising health care costs.  Research says otherwise.  I'll find the source.

Vernon Parker is on the "I hate Obamacare" bandwagon.  It costs too much, we can't afford it.  Fair enough, I guess.  His wife has had breast cancer and has first-hand experience with expensive health insurance.  This forced him to pay for tests out of pocket and this is where he learned how doctors ordered tests that they didn't really need and couldn't afford.  I guess this worked for him since he had the money to pay for cancer treatment out of pocket?  This won't work for the majority of Americans.

Martin Sepulveda's answer to our high spending - cut every program and make government more efficient!  I don't doubt it.  A more efficient government is a good thing, but I'm not sure this is a silver bullet.  Government does what it does, I'm not sure you can just will it to do what it does with less money.  If you want to cut government cost, you got to have government do less.  Tell us where exactly you want it to do less.  Otherwise, this answer is  not credible.

Schapira's common sense statement that our economy is the primary reason for are big debt.  Not completely true, but largely so.

Sinema chimes in with a very balanced, middle way answer.  Tax reform and tax increases (let Bush tax cuts expire) balanced with some spending cuts, particularly in the defense industry.

Cherney talks about his time working on the Clinton's administration and takes credit for instituting a balanced budget.  What he doesn't say is that during the 1990's, the baby boomers were at their earning peak, not to mention we were undergoing a dot com boom.  Bush's tax cuts without associative spending cuts were a bad idea especially as we followed them with two wars.  But our long term debt problems caused largely by our aging demographic were present during Clinton times too.  Baby boomers are now retiring, producing less, consuming more. This was foreseeable.

Grantham brings up the cap and balance idea.  Cap spending at some low level and balance to that level.  Tell me how Grantham, which programs are you cutting to do that?

Jeff Thompson is ranting.  This will be a common theme I fear.  Blame Obama for every problem.

Vernon Parker blames our high corporate rates for driving businesses out of America.  I'm all for cutting the rate if you close the loopholes.  He forgets to mention the second half of that equation.

Wendy Rogers brings up the Ryan plan and medicare reform.  Yes.  Republicans, defend this. Let's see how far this gets you.  You do know the Ryan plan is a risky overhaul to medicare.  She also brings up the estate tax becasue you know rich parents children should be able to get their parent's wealth tax free.  Keep the wealth in the family, its the American way.

 Still a ways to go, I'll provide more in another post.

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