My top ten presidental debate questions
I've noted elsewhere
how much I like the msnbc poll
, as it both educates and polls, and is at the same time, fair, and easy to understand. The candidates and issues are listed in alphabetical order; the results are shown in shades of green (good) to red (bad). I'd like the poll to also have a tab that showed the number of votes, and various other statistics (repeat votes, vote locations, etc), and for msnbc to publish its source code for this poll so it can be reused and re purposed– but I can't have everything.
The one thing I'd really like to have in that poll – and most others – is the ability to frame the questions myself in categories that I cared about, and for me to be able reach statistically significant numbers of people with those questions.
I'm tickled that 10 questions
is trying to pull together a democratically created poll – but IMHO it's too little, too late. The questions need to be sent in via video, and uploading video from where I'm at is an exercise in tedium, even if I looked halfway good on camera. Still, I'd like to participate so I'll use this blog for my questions. Perhaps others will film questions like these.
My top 10 issues for 2008 at the federal level:
1)(Economy) The deficit
2)(Economy) The estate tax
3)(Economy) Alternative minimum tax
4)(Politics) Personal freedom
5)(Science) The space program
7)(Health Care) Health Care
9)(War) the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations
10)(Politics) Enhancing the internet
My top 10 election 2008 questions
If I had control of a polling system, or of a presidential debate of democrats or republicans, these are the questions I would ask. To keep the question short and fair, with a maximum amount of screen time for candidate answers, I might skip the first background sentences entirely, and just ask the questions. I don't want to be as guilty of framing the debate as others are, and I'm doing enough merely by framing the questions thusly:
1)(Economy) In 1999, the budget of the federal government was in surplus, with the elimination of the federal debt seemingly feasible. Now the debt is past 9 trillion dollars and the yearly deficit stands at an amount so staggering I can't even print it. What would you do to cure the debt and restore a balanced budget?
2)(Economy) The estate tax, which used to raise 70 billion dollars a year, is due to expire in 2010. Would you reinstate it? If so, how would you change it?
3)(Economy) An increasing number of Americans are subject to the alternative minimum tax, rather than the normal income tax. What would you do about this situation?
4)(Immigration) How would you reform the H1B visa program?
5)(Space) The space shuttle is due to be retired in 2010, and the earliest a replacement is scheduled to come online is 2014. According to President Bush's Vision for Space Exploration, a return to the moon is scheduled for 2020. Do you think these dates are reasonable? Would you continue these programs as is? Cut the budgets? Increase them? Encourage private development of space vehicles? Go for the Moon? Mars? Or aim for the near earth asteroids?
6)(Politics) What, if anything, would you do about gerrymandering?
7)(Health Care) What percentage of the public's health care financing should go to drugs and what percentage to treatment?
8)(Freedom) How would you maximize freedom in America and the world?
9)(Internet) America has fallen far behind the rest of the world in internet deployment and speed. What would you do about that?
10)(War) How would you more effectively govern the occupied territories abroad?
I note that there are three places above where I do directly challenge the conventional wisdom while framing the question.
I can't contain my outrage at the size of the federal debt. I tried.
The Iraq war ceased being a war shortly after Baghdad fell, and became an occupation. I can't bring myself to call it a war anymore, and don't know how anyone can.
The depth of my space question represents my deep interest in science and space and my utter despair at finding a candidate that had ever talked about the issues there.
And perhaps it's a little unfair of me to hyperlink to the facts containing my assertions. (I haven't finished revising this posting to add all the hyperlinks I'd like to add, so please check back later)
I couldn't help myself but frame things that way, but I did limit showing my biases as best as I could. Hopefully that's good enough. I do have my own opinions on all these questions, and I will publish them in my blog over the next week. I look forward to any comments on the above, and hope that others will ignore the current framing of the national debates, ignore me, too - and formulate their own top 10 questions and publish them, in some format, somewhere.
Perhaps some answers - or better questions - will arise.
Labels: debates, economy, election 2008, online polling, politics, space, statistics