News Release

Debate: * Economy * PBS * “Energy Independence”

RICHARD WOLFF [email]
Wolff is author most recently of the book Occupy the Economy: Challenging Capitalism. He said today: “The debate was notable mostly for what it evaded. (1) In the last comparable economic crisis (1930s), unemployment was treated by a massive federal jobs program, yet neither candidate had anything to say on such an approach despite the 5-year failure to overcome unemployment of their shared program of ‘encouraging’ the private sector. (2) The discussion of healthcare evaded the fact that the U.S. spends far more per capita on healthcare than other advanced industrial nations while obtaining in return mediocre health results compared to those nations: amazing omission shared by both candidates. (3) Over the last 40 years the major tax cuts have been given to business and to the top income earners, yet as this happened in steps, the rate of job growth declined, yet both candidates babbled on as if the association between tax cuts and job growth were a universally agreed fact when no evidence supports it.

“All in all, amazing performance of irrelevance and evasion of the worst economic crisis in 75 years while endless repetitions of love for a middle class and small business decimated by the policies of successive Republican and Democratic administrations alike.”

JIM NAURECKAS, STEVE RENDALL [email]
Editor of the media watch group FAIR’s magazine Extra!, Naureckas said today: “It’s a disturbing spectacle when a journalist moderating a debate between two politicians is reminded by one of them that he has the power to cut off the journalist’s funding. Politicians should not be able to pull the plug on the public’s media — PBS needs a dedicated trust fund that can’t be used as a political prop by candidates.” Rendall is FAIR’s senior analyst.

See the recent FAIR advisory “Moderate Debates and Debate Moderators,” largely about Lehrer.

MICHAEL KLARE [email]
Klare just wrote the piece “The New ‘Golden Age of Oil’ That Wasn’t: Forecasts of Abundance Collide with Planetary Realities,” which scrutinizes “energy independence” claims such as those made by Romney at last night’s debate.

Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author, most recently, of The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources.