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  • Morning Bell: 5 Issues That Haven't Come Up in the Debates

    Tonight’s presidential debate is the last one that will include questions on domestic policy. The previous presidential and vice presidential debates covered a host of issues, but there are key questions still to be answered. Heritage experts submitted five issues below—with questions—that it is important to discuss before the debate moves on to foreign policy exclusively.

    Join us tonight at 9 p.m. ET—you can watch the debate live on our Debate 2012 page. We’ll have the live stream of the debate and a live blog of our experts’ analysis, and you can follow our tweets and chime in.

    1. Welfare reform

    Since the 1960s, government has spent nearly $20 trillion on the War on Poverty. The federal government now runs about 80 programs providing aid to the poor. Government at all levels spends nearly $1 trillion annually to fight poverty. The Obama Administration unilaterally issued a policy gutting the work requirement from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

    Question: Should all able-bodied recipients be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid in federal public housing, food stamps, and cash assistance programs?

    2. Trade

    The United States ranks 10th in the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom. Trade barriers, from tariffs to a lack of free trade agreements with other countries, hinder America’s prosperity. Brand new research from Heritage shatters trade misconceptions, showing that imports—from China—actually create jobs here in the United States.

    Question: The United States’ ranking in various international measures of economic freedom and competitiveness has dropped dramatically over the last 4 years. What policies would you propose to help Americans regain the economic freedom they have lost?

    3. Medicaid

    There has been lots of discussion about Medicare, but what about Medicaid, which delivers health care primarily to the poor? Half the gain in coverage under Obamacare was projected by adding millions more to Medicaid. On average, Medicaid physicians are paid only about 58 percent of what private insurance pays. According to a recent study, in 2011, one out of three Medicaid doctors would not accept new Medicaid patients—with a direct correlation to physician reimbursement rates. While the health care law does temporarily raise the payment rate for Medicaid primary care doctors, after 2014, these same doctors will face a 19 percent pay cut.

    Question: What will you do to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries get better access to health care?

    4. Federal Spending and Debt

    In 2012, the federal government spent $29,691 per household, $9,398 of which was deficit spending. Meanwhile, the national debt per taxpayer climbed to more than $111,000, which is more than twice what the average American can expect to earn in 2012.

    Question: How would you cut spending and reduce the debt burden for Americans?

    5. American-Produced Energy

    Hydraulic fracturing—called fracking—has helped tap vast supplies of oil and natural gas in the United States. The boom in natural gas from the use of hydraulic fracturing has attracted the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior—even as states have been effective at regulating fracking. Unnecessary layers of federal red tape would slow energy production and much-needed economic growth in the United States.

    Question: How do you see the role of states in regulating energy production?

    Watch the debate live with us tonight—we’ll be streaming it on our Debate 2012 page, in addition to our experts’ live blog and live tweeting. Join the conversation!

    Quick Hits:

    • More than a month after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she takes full responsibility for the security situation there.
    • “The United Steelworkers and BlueGreen Alliance are rallying behind President Barack Obama’s renewable energy agenda while offering their own blueprint to increase unionization of the clean energy sector and impose a carbon tax,” reports The Washington Guardian.
    • Feel like paying even more to the government? You can donate extra money to pay down the U.S. debt! In the last fiscal year, Americans gave gifts totaling $7.7 million for this purpose.
    • President Obama said, “We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system,” but the Congressional Budget Office says the government has lost about $24 billion.
    • Just how much IS the federal government spending? Check out Heritage’s Special Report, Federal Spending by the Numbers, released this morning.
    Posted in Energy, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Morning Bell: 5 Issues That Haven't Come Up in the Debates

    1. sdfultz says:

      I like the questions, but on State regulation of energy for the country or will it just be dumped on the world market?
      Who ever gains this control of energy production in their states will also become the dumping ground for energy waste.

    2. toledofan says:

      The mainstream media for the past four years should have been asking, asking, and asking again lots of these questions. It’s like we reallly don’t have a President; he doesn’t attend security briefings, he hasn’t spent a lot of time in Washington over the past six months, he doesn’t meet with world leaders, he snubbed Israel, the Bengazi incident is a national disgrace, our foreign and domestic policies are in a shambles, and doesn’t anyone think he should have addressed the U.S. after the Bengazi attack? Anyway, if Obama is re-elected all questions are moot because nothing will change. If Romney wins you can bet the questions won’t stop being asked and the media will demand answers.

    3. will says:

      “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world." Calvin Coolidge

      Agree or disagree and give your reasons.

    4. Buckeye says:

      Well, since they'll be debating FOREIGN POLICY tonight, you probably won't get the answers to your questions.

    5. Nobody will touch Welfare with a 20 foot pole.It is the single most job,spirit,generational problem facing Americans,A total embarrassment,that people make money off of having babies with no support and they are allowed to spend that money ,any way they wish.

    6. Guest says:

      I would like to hear about the Constitutionality of some of Obama's past executive orders. I want to hear about why he was missing all those intelligence briefings. I want to hear about why Obama voted the way he did on the Infant Born Alive Act. I want to hear why Obama promised that the cost of health care would go down for individual in the middle class and now it has already gone up. I want to know why he wouldn't meet with Bibi Netanyahu. I also want to know why Obama won't release his grades, particularly appropos for a college setting.

    7. Jack Hughes says:

      There should be questions about defense. Obama is cutting our forces back to pre World War 1 levels. We will not be able to defend ourselves never mind our allies.

    8. Tracker Tom says:

      Where's a discussion of border control, enforcement of immigration laws and what are immgration policies ought to be to serve on the best interests of this country.

    9. cluebattingcage says:

      "Since the 1960s, government has spent nearly $20 trillion on the War on Poverty. The federal government now runs about 80 programs providing aid to the poor. Government at all levels spends nearly $1 trillion annually to fight poverty."

      How about this question? —

      "How is that working out for us? Do we have less poverty? Please cite statistics.

    10. Tracker Tom says:

      Where's the discussion on border control, enfrocement of immgration laws and establishing a sensible and wokable immigration policy that best serves the interest of our country?

    11. Cheryl Boyd says:

      I don't see Obama coming up with any realistic plans for any of these things. Just look at his record for all the evidence you need. He has not proposed anything different and we cannot go on for another four years doing the same thing without devastating the country. It's time people realized that if socialism hasn't been successful any place it's been tried, it will not be successful here. This country was founded on principles of individual liberty but that also means individual responsibility. No matter how governments may try to take personal responsibility from people, it will inevitably fail, and it always means a surrender of individual rights as well.

    12. I would hope Republicans would clarify that we are not ANTI ENVIRONMENTAL. As with other challenges, we prefer the private sector take the lead for on-the-ground solutions, not the EPA.

      We do need certain laws and protections, and lands set aside for sustaining natural resources and wildlife, as well as parks. Government can play a role in research, much as the NIH does for health and wellness.

      Gladly, I donate to Audubon, National Wildllife Federation, Sierra Club and others — state levels, too. I do not want the government taking over the work of private groups that are more effective, efficient, and far reaching.

    13. Jeanne Stotler says:

      TANF and Food stamps were intended for a life line to those in need, NOT for a life time. As a nurse in a Florida hosp. I saw the same women come in year after year having a new baby, I do not oppose having children, I am a mother of 9, BUT having babies to get MORE money is sinful, I believe in the program set up under Clinton, training for jobs, education for young women and men alike and having a FATHER IN THE HOUSE. There are a lot of famiies that fall on hard times , I did after my husband died, BUT working to get over the hump is what we are suppose to do, not sit back and take from others, forever, I used grants to go back to school and finishd my nurses education that I left to get married, I also worked full time while going to school, not an easy feat but doable if you are determined toget on your OWN feet. You can do it if you really try

    14. Arlene says:

      In numerating Obama’s many bad actions/comments, why hasn’t anybody used the time when he came from a meeting (apparently with native Americans) and gave a shout-out to the American Indians? The news had just broken about the shooting in Texas that had killed 13 people. But he had to campaign first!!!! (always)
      Check the film, you’ll see–

    15. @undefined says:

      Excellent questions. Here's another:

      Excessive government regulations make it hard for prospective small business owners to go into business. How do you propose to reduce government involvement in day to day activities, and allow businesses to thrive?

    16. Tim Dixon says:

      Do you think that anyone has the right to take anything away from someone else who worked hard for what they have and why ?

      There's a question I'd LOVE to hear the answer to.

    17. Guest says:

      As a small oil and gas producer, I do not agree with the surge to drill and produce more oil. Added production will lower prices. Like natural gas which we may as well be giving away for free. I support high oil and gas prices so I can receive a healthy return on my investments.

    18. James V. Burnette says:

      On the first four issues listed as not getting much attention in the debates, all those issues shed too much light on the failures of this administration. As for issue number five "energy", the states can only regulate the process of extracting our energy sources. Yes, the Federal government is slowing down the processes of extraction and yes, fracking is an environmental issue that must be addressed but all our energy sources are and have been for some time a global issue. The whole issue concerning our energy sources and availability is that we have reached what is being called "Peak Oil". A point at which the energy needed to extract our oil from the sources we have left on this planet grows more expensive every day. If we allow our consumption of oil to continue to increase while it cost more to extract it from the sources that are available then the only conclusion is higher and higher prices. We have fought many wars over much less important issues.

    19. Linda says:

      What about appointments to the Supreme Court?

    20. guest says:

      i feel so much better after having read all comments, there are others who feel as I do and who have concerns about the future of our nation.

    21. Ben C. says:

      Atlas Shrugged II is in the movie theaters. if you have not read the book see the movie. It is amazing the vision Ayn Rand had all those years ago and how her visions are coming to past. Couple Hunger Games, Obama 2016, and Atlas Shrugged and you have the path on which our country is taking. Scary.

    22. No NDAA? I'd really like to see that talk.

    23. jill says:

      Please do what you can to get these to the Romney advisors! Awesome questions. The debate questions keep favoring Obama. They seem to emphasize his strenghts. The moderators favor him and even help him answer questions!!!

      Romey needs to point out Obama's pattern of avoiding questions and attacking and challenge him to answer the tough questions, calling him out for that behavior ahead of time, so when he does it people will be less influenced by it and will see through it, see it for what it is! (charismatic but lacking in substance). Romney needs to stick with the record when Obama tries to deviate and derail.

    24. J. McGaughey says:

      "a college education" is today a meaningless phrase. " Fluently and comprehensively read " with math, history, writing and other general functioning skills must be locally, not federally and union driven so that parents can through their childrens teen years continue to be involved so generation by generation the bar of and attitude toward literacy will be raised. As business increases with our ability to acquire product, I know personal education will become a by-product. In this manner, one could say that, yes, education has been discussed in these presidential debates!

    25. J E Houser says:

      The United States grew to heights unknown by strict compliance with the Constitution's clear, unchallengeable limitations on the authority and power of the federal government. Now, repetitively, the restrictions are being erased. We are acquiring a government operating under a rule of solipsism wherein the federal government knows all the answers and requirements for its citizens, its industrial, and all forms of human behaviour. Constitutional limitations must be restored. One thing that should be done is repeal the 17th Amendment so that federal legislators cannot simply bicker among themselves, but they will have to look back to the state they pretend to represent.

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