Tonight’s debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney is supposed to focus on domestic policy, with a major concentration on the economy. Health care, the role of government, and philosophy of governing are also on the agenda. The Heritage Foundation’s policy experts have submitted 10 questions they would like to see asked in the debate.
1. In 2008, then-candidate Obama said, “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” In reality, President Obama’s signature health care law contains 18 new or increased taxes and penalties that will cost taxpayers $836.3 billion over the next 10 years, many of which fall heavily on the middle class. In fact, almost 70 percent of those responsible for paying the fiercely debated individual mandate are below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Should these tax increases be stopped to protect middle-class Americans from their damage? If yes, where would the money needed to help pay for Obamacare come from?
2. Millions of baby boomers are starting to retire, and spending on Social Security and Medicare as these programs are currently structured is simply unsustainable. What is your plan to solve the looming entitlement program spending crisis?
3. Medicare as we know it today is facing severe financing problems that are unsustainable and putting future generations’ Medicare benefits in jeopardy. Over the long term, Medicare has made $37 trillion worth of promises to seniors that it cannot keep and the hospital insurance trust fund will be empty by 2024. Worse, the President’s health care law will cut Medicare by $716 billion over the next 10 years to pay for new spending in Obamacare. As Medicare’s solvency hangs in the balance, what structural reforms, if any, are you willing to make to preserve Medicare for future generations?