The presidential debate held this past Wednesday evening, the first of three for this election season, saw no clear winner. It is true that both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney are strong speakers and certainly strong debaters. But while polls currently indicate the American public thinks Romney “won,” the debate did not truly enhance the public’s knowledge in the long run.
What the debate ultimately turned into was speculation, information drawn from both credible and non-credible sources and the misrepresentation of factual data. And keep in mind that while the polls indicate Romney won, the whole first wave of fact checkers have determined that much of what he said was not entirely true. But, not everything Obama said was 100 percent accurate either.
On the topic of taxes, Romney defended his still-vague tax policy, claiming it was a “tax relief” and repeatedly stated that no tax cuts would add to the deficit. This was in response to the president’s claim that Romney’s policy would actually cost the federal government roughly $5 trillion in revenue and widen the deficit. According to the Washington Post and Factcheck.org, the president’s claim turns out to be true.
Romney also fired back at the idea that Obama's policy would increase taxes for the middle class and lower it for the upper class, stating the president’s view was inaccurate. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, not only do the numbers not add up for the Romney policy, but when enacted, it would most likely hurt high income earners as well as more than 10 percent of middle class earners.
With regards to the debt and deficit, the President stated that an “equal balance” approach was needed to fix the problem, meaning spending needs to be cut, and at the same time, additional revenue needs to be raised. Romney strongly disagreed and rejected the idea of raising revenue.
When regulation was brought up, it was surprising to see Romney agree regulations are necessary, when in the past he has heavily argued against them. Obama also claimed the regulations imposed on Wall Street under his administration were some of the strongest since the 1930s. But this does not take away from the fact that the regulations are not as effective as they should be, because banks are still making risky investments, and there are not enough regulations on Wall Street banking today.
For healthcare and entitlements, the opponents truly revealed their stark contrast in views. Romney repeatedly attacked the Affordable Care Act, claiming it took $716 billion from Medicare to pay for the bill. He also said that a government takeover of the healthcare system is not needed, and he also brought up the so called “death panels” again, stating they would determine Medicare treatments and who gets healthcare.
According to the fact checkers at Factcheck.org, though, the panel cannot “ration” healthcare or determine any treatments that Medicare covers; it is simply against the law for them to do so. The panel’s job is simply to find ways to reduce spending if and only if spending on Medicare exceeds the yearly targets set by the law.
As far as $716 billion being taken from Medicare, this is simply a reduction in Medicare reimbursements to healthcare providers more than 10 years, according to the Washington Post. The PPACA, though, actually benefits Medicare recipients in many of the same ways as before, and several new ways as well.
Additionally, the PPACA is far from a government takeover of healthcare.