Here we go!

According to the moderator the role of government and the economy will be focal issues.  Fantastic.

First question:  Jobs.  Compare and contrast.

Obama:  Economic patriotism is now defined as more spending on education and green energy.  How fun!
Romney: Cracking down on big 'ol evil China.  Because everyone knows that protectionism and tariffs work, just like Smoot-Hawley helped the Great Depression.  Oh wait...
Obama:   "I want to hire 100,000 more teachers." This is despite the fact that public union pensions are absolutely crushing state budgets and have caused numerous nasty fights (Wisconsin, Chicago, California) between local Governments and teachers.  So why not throw our pretty ideas and let the States the financial burdens.
Obama:  "Romney wants to cut 5 trillion dollars in taxes".  Really?  I would love to see that.
Romney: "No I am not going to cut that much in taxes".   I knew it.  "We are also going to close loop holes to ensure revenue streams continue".  Again, fantastic.  Hey Mr. Romney - how about lower spending to match revenues irrespective of economic activity!?
Obama:  "We cut taxes for middle class families".  I guess our president forgot the whole ObamaCare tax conclusion?  "Romney wants to burden middle class families by taxes".  I am still trying to figure out how lowering taxes burdens anyone, at all, ever.
Romney:  "Obama is a liar, na na na boo boo, I am not raising taxes on the middle class and I am not lowering taxes by the rich".   In other words, same old tired rhetoric about closing loop holes and lowering rates.  *sigh*.

Conclusion:  Obama claims to have lowered taxes for the middle class as much as 18 times.  He did that by borrowing from Social Security through the payroll tax which is something we will need to pay back at some point.  The entire back and forth is minutia that digs up the old debate of trickle down politics vs helping the middle class.  Obama's position is not new and something he ran on in 2007, Romney offers nothing new whatsoever, a plan that is similar to that of Reagan.  Obama has accused Romney of spending 2 Trillion on spending which was not addressed and something that is entirely plausible.  That means Romney is banking on the economy rip roaring to make up for deficits and it will not work because another recession is very likely.  Neither plan will work as Obama will raise marginal rates and Romney is just going to mess with the tax system.

Second question:  What to do about the Federal debt/deficit.  What are the difference between the two of you and how do you tackle the deficit?

Romney:  "Debt is immoral".  Which is why he wants to spend money on defense and get into a trade war with China.
Romney: " I want to cut spending".  "Cut ObamaCare, PBS funding, make Government more efficient, remove waste".  PBS funding should definitely solve that problem.  Phew, thank god for Mitt.
Obama: "When I came into office there was a lot of spending".  OK, true.  "Then I went after waste and make biggest cuts in discretionary spending since Eisenhower".  That is hard to believe, but I will wait for the fact checkers to verify that.  I call BS right away.
Obama:  "We will only cut spending if we increase revenues".  Fascinating.  So apparently cutting a Government that has expanded non-stop since the 1940s requires additional revenues, even though as percent of GDP the Government is collecting as much as it ever has.  Explain that!
Romney:  "Absolutely ruling out additional revenues through taxes".  Similar to Massachusetts where fees went up everywhere in order to generate more revenues.  Again, Mitt has no intention whatsoever to reduce how much money our Government takes from us, which for middle class families stands roughly at 50% when all taxes are factored in.
Arkady:  Somehow the question about deficits has turned to taxes again and Obama is going on and on about corporate subsidies to oil companies.  Nicely done gents, nicely done.
Obama: "Romney wants to shift Medicaid to States and that will hurt autistic kids".  Oh brother.
Romney: "You gave 90 billion to green energy, that is 50 years worth oil subsidies".  This is very notable, even if the number is not accurate, that was a fantastic counter argument as it makes Obama look like a hypocrite.
Romney: "States are the laboratories of Democracy".  Hmm...I have no objection with that.
Romney: "States can handle the poor better".  Not bad.

Conclusion:  Basically speaking, Romney skirted the question.  Going after ObamaCare is easy, but not being able to mention substantial cuts other than PBS is embarrassing.  The only conclusion is that Mitt has no real intention to cut spending other than the unpopular pieces and even in that case he plans to repeal/replace.

Question 3:  Entitlements, do you see a major difference in Social Security?

Obama: "Social security is sound, but needs to be tweaked like Reagan did".  So it is quite sound, except that we need to collect more money from you - otherwise it is really solid.  Laugh.
Obama: "My grandmother was independent because she could rely on Medicare and SS".  Really?  Your grandmother was fiercely independent because she relied on people my age to pay for her?  I doubt she would be happy to hear that.
Obama: "Medicare must be dealt with to lower health care costs".  Which is why they created ObamaCare, but wait, no independent body has actually confirmed that OCare will lower costs and instead will raise it.  Empty rhetoric.  Shoving millions on Medicaid will again raise health care costs, not lower them.  Terrible.
Romney: "Obama is going to cut Medicare and I want to put that money back into Medicare". What a disaster.  So now the Republican candidate is actually in a live debate saying he wants to spend MORE on Medicare than the Democrat.  Good lord someone save us.
Obama: "Romney wants to create vouchers and they will not work due to costs".  You are right, after you have done everything possible to raise costs the idea of vouchers sure sounds unappetizing.
Obama: "AARP agrees with me". Laugh.  What is next, are you going to ask GM whether bailing out the auto industry is a good idea?  Give me a break.
Romney: "I want to keep Medicare in place and create another option for younger people".  Except that completely ignores the entire issue with Medicare, as it drives up health care costs for EVERYONE.  I think I need health care coverage right now as I am feeling sick just listening to this drivel.
Obama: "Medicare has lower administrative costs".  That is actually a myth and one that has been addressed by those who study the health care costs, Medicare has a very unique accounting mechanism and they count their administrative costs differently.  This is a complete BS fact.

Conclusion: The idea of a voucher system is certainly appealing, however addressing health care costs cannot be performed without addressing Medicare/Medicaid.  These two programs creates millions of Americans that receive health care at below market costs.  This is impossible to sustain and will devastate our health care system, it already has.   Romney offers nothing substantial here.

Question 4:  Is there too much Federal regulations in the economy?

Romney: "Regulation is essential, free market cannot work without regulations".  That is sufficiently open ended statement as to make everyone happy.
Romney: "Dodd-Frank is bad" but "some parts are great". "I will repeal and replace".  Democrat legislation bad, Republican legislation good.  Right.
Obama: "Banks were making money hand over fist to make profits".  This is Obama's rendition of the housing crisis and is now lauding D-F as the biggest reform since the 1930s.  This is just recycled liberal talking points and as this blog has covered numerous times, simply a tip of the iceberg.  Also citing the Great Depression regulation as something to aspire to is extremely ignorant and silly.
Romney: "Dodd-Frank regulation is confusing, I will make sure we will not hurt the marketplace".  So again, Romney regulation is better than Democrat regulation.  Understood.  When you build a foundation of quicksand, you will get sucked in.

Conclusion: That was an obnoxious exchange and covered nothing other than the finance.  Romney and Obama are virtually identical on their position and both tout regulation as something to aspire to.  Instead of focusing on minimal regulations that prevent fraud the entire discussion swirled around little details of Dodd-Frank that most people will find unappealing.  Liberals will never support Romney anyway so him sounding like a technocrat wins him no points there and anyone who knows that the free market is the solution to our problem will just wince and groan at this stumble by Romney.  What a debacle.

Question 5:  You want to repeal ObamaCare, why?

Romney: "Small business are dropping insurance".  "Obama promised to lower health care costs and he failed".  "ObamaCare cuts 700+B from Medicare".  "It creates a board to control treatment".   One almost wants to cheer for Romney here, but when he clearly fails to understand that Medicare/Medicaid drives up costs is just so painful that I have no words.
Obama:  "Insurance companies do not want to pay".  Again with the pre-existing condition crap.  Someone please tell him that this drives up costs for everyone.  Anyone?
Obama: "We have seen this model Massachusetts".  Zing.
Romney: "My plan was better than yours because Republicans worked with Democrats".  Bravo Mitt, you worked together to pass socialized medicine in our state.  Good job.
Obama: "Our plans is the same!".  He is right.
Obama: "Companies will drop insurance, so we must figure out how to make health care more effective".  Again, a beautiful opportunity for Romney to point out that ObamaCare will RAISE health care costs.  Hmm, but then that would require admitting that RomneyCare is raising costs in Massachusetts.  What a pickle of a situation.  Then again we have two candidates that believe in socialized medicine, so what exactly do we expect??
Romney: "My plan will keep pre-existing conditions".  Oh really?  Which will of course result in insurance premiums going up?  Good grief.  Now he is ranting about the board again, of course the board is the only way to control costs through rationing, rationing by the way is what happens when one implements socialized medicine!  Duh.
Romney: "My plan is a model for every State".  Someone please explain to me why 50 RomneyCares is better than 1 ObamaCare?  OK, OK, it is...but that is like saying that getting stabbed is better than getting burned alive.  Agreed.

Conclusion:  None necessary.  Romney is the same as Obama on health care, other than with a shiny veneer of State rights.  Bogus.

Question 6:  Do you view the Federal Government differently?

Arkady:  This should be a cake walk.
Obama: "First role, keep people safe".  That is why you bombed the shit out of Pakistanis with drones?  I see, I see.
Obama: "Gov't should create opportunities, genius of American system is the free market".  "Lincoln realized that we work better together".  The president thinks he is so bloody clever bringing up Lincoln, except that Lincoln used federal money to subsidize rail road construction in the North, thereby greatly aggravating the Southern states.  That was never the intended role of our Gov't and it is sad to see that our current president thinks his job is to take money from people and direct them to industries that he happens to like.  Hamiltonian protectionism at its finest.
Obama: "We will give States money for education for reforms".  Since 1979 the Dept of Education has been spending more and more on education and every year America has fallen behind the West in all standards.  Voters need to realize this and not eat up the utter bullcrap that Obama is feeding them on this.  Not holding my breath on this one.
Romney: "Role of Government;  Constitution and Declaration of Independence".  "I believe in maintaining and strengthening our military".  So how is spending 800+B on defense per year not enough?  When is enough?  Seeing that this represents almost 75% of all income tax revenues, what exactly is the limit here and what does that have to do with life and liberty?  Last I checked, creating deficits and debt takes away from both.  What a goof ball.
Romney: "Government trickle-down does not work".  This is an interesting usage of the term trickle-down.  I kind of like that.
Moderator:  "List me specific opinions on the role of Government". Guess he grew tired of the diatribe, good job moderator.  Question:  Does the Federal Gov't have a role in education?
Romney: "The federal Gov't can help local Governments".  Wrong answer Mitt, wrong answer.
Obama: "It has a significant role to play".  Nothing surprising here.
Obama: "Ryan/Romney want to cut education budgets by 20%".  Last I checked in Ryan's budget, I do not recall seeing that.
Obama: "We took out the middle man in education lending and took over lending entirely".  Somehow that is supposed to be appealing?  Considering that tuition is in a bigger bubble than health care.
Romney: "I am not going to cut education funding!".  I figured that much.
Romney: "You put 90 billions in green energy, that would have hired 2 million teachers".  OK, who is who?  I am confused.
Romney: "Lets grade our schools".  Hey great idea!  So much for States controlling their own house eh?  Now Mitt and Congress will use the Dept of Education to grade schools!  What a brilliantly horrible idea.  This is getting depressing.
Moderator:  "Both of you talked way too much and ran out of time".  I agree, but when both men have the same position one must blabber on and on about trivial details to make a point.

Question 7:  Many legislative processes are paralyzed due to gridlock, what will you do to fix it?

Arkady:  Frankly, the best thing for this country is paralysis since there is literally nothing in the legislative queue worth celebrating.  Not sure why this is a problem.

Romney: "I will sit with Democrat leaders and talk about the issues just like I did in our State".  As a reminder Romney raises fees on everything, moved billions off budget and implemented socialized medicine.  So based on what he said above, perhaps his ability to get things done is worth paying attention to - because that is scary.
Obama: "Repealing ObamaCare will be tough".  Agreed.  Which is why it won't happen.
Obama: "We cut a trillion in spending".  Utter bullshit.  Reducing spending that you once promised to spend is not the same as reducing spending.  Pure lies.  Spending is higher than it was even in the last year of Bush Jr.
Obama: "Saying no is important".  Obama defending his position on passing ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank and the Stimulus on partisan lines.  Nicely done.

Closing Statements

Obama: "Four years ago there was a massive crisis, but my faith in Americans is unchanged".  Which is why you passed three pieces of legislation that remain to be opposed by majority of Americans?   Nicely done sir.
Obama: "I fought for the middle class".  By extending this recession, by saddling us with more debt and by making health care more un-affordable.  While I am not going to criticize Obama for the policies advocated by the Federal Reserve, the Fed is largely acting in a capacity that is in sync with the spending prowess of our Government.  To that end, Obama is partially responsible for the diminishing value of the dollar and rising prices on all goods.  Rising prices on common items hurts the low earners and the poor, thus making Obama a very poor president to those he pretends to defend.
Romney: "I am concerned about America"  "It is about the course of America and there are two different paths".  In a nutshell?  No there are not.

Thanks for reading.

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"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.” - M. Rothbard