This year, American Bridge was hoping we’d get the call to host one of the presidential debates. Unfortunately, though admittedly unsurprisingly, that wasn’t the case. While we’re still holding out hope that Candy Crowley will use our best “this or that” submission, these are the questions we would have asked Mitt Wednesday night. (And be sure to click through to our Bridge Briefs to see the answers Mitt wouldn’t have given.)
1) Studies indicate your plan to block grant Medicaid would result in 14-27 million people losing health care insurance, half of them children. Do you think the American people would prefer health care for children or tax cuts for millionaires?
2) What did you mean when you said immigrants come here “looking for a free deal?” Would you veto legislation that offers a path to citizenship for individuals brought here as children and who have proven their commitment to American ideals by completing college or serving in the US military?
3) What did you mean when you said you were open to private sector competition in veterans’ health care?
4) Why would a Romney presidency be different than a Romney governorship, when Massachusetts lagged behind other states in job creation, ranking 47th out of 50?
5) As governor, why did you veto funding for breast and cervical cancer treatment and prevention?
6) Twice in the last 15 years – when the tech bubble burst and the recent Wall Street crisis – many people lost everything they had in the stock market. Do you still support private accounts for Social Security that would subject people’s savings to those fluctuations, and what would you propose so that people who did lose everything didn’t starve?
7) What specific tax breaks and loopholes would you eliminate to make your tax cuts for the wealthy revenue-neutral, and would these be applied to middle- and working-class families?
8) When you wanted to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” you said government intervention would “virtually guarantee” the demise of the American auto industry. Considering the private sector, including Bain Capital, was unwilling to offer the capital necessary at the time, yet the auto industry is now thriving, will you acknowledge you were wrong and the President was right in this instance?
9) Why do you oppose programs to reduce class sizes for young students? How do we compete globally if we reduce our investments in the next generation?
10) As Governor of Massachusetts, you proposed fee increases on the mentally challenged and blind citizens, as well as charges for marriage licenses, gun licenses, drivers’ permits, and even cremation inspections. As President, would you use fees to raise revenues without openly increasing taxes?
11) How do you propose we “crack down” on China when you opposed steel and tire tariffs on China that have saved American jobs?
12) You’ve been critical of investments made by the government as picking winners and losers, but that is exactly what you did as Governor. Considering companies like Spherics, Acusphere and Konarka your administration invested in failed and cost taxpayers money, how would you explain that contradiction?
13) After failing to lead the Republican Party during the debt ceiling talks by waiting until the deal was made to express your opposition, you urged the Super Committee to fail by being adamantly opposed to absolutely any compromise on increased tax revenue. At what point in the process would your actions have averted the defense sequestration, which your running mate supported as a “down payment” on deficit reduction?
14) Why do you oppose subsidies for emerging alternative energy technologies, but support keeping subsidies for the already established and highly profitable oil and gas industries?
15) What did you mean when you said the government should get out of the foreclosure process and “let it run its course and hit the bottom”?
16) Seniors are often responsible for the highest costs in health care spending. How would your plan to reintroduce them into the private health insurance system in a decade help lower health insurance costs for everyone else?
17) Last summer during the budget fight, why did you reject the federal government’s use of the approach – fee increases and closing tax loopholes – that led to Massachusetts’ credit rating upgrade while you were governor?
18) One of the environmental regulations you’ve opposed on economic reasons are increased fuel standards for automobiles, saying it would “kill the domestic [auto] industry.” Would you roll back the new CAFE standards that Detroit’s Big Three have agreed to that will double fuel efficiency by 2025?
19) Why do you propose putting the middle man back in the federal student loan industry, giving more money to banks and making less money available for students?
20) Your budget is dependent on reducing federal government spending by almost 1/5 from current levels, but the programs you’ve proposed cutting – Amtrak, public broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts – are relatively small. Other than the Affordable Care Act, what programs would you cut to reach your spending targets?
21) In the financial crisis, Wall Street demonstrated they are either unwilling or unable to regulate themselves. If you were to repeal Dodd-Frank, what regulations would you replace them with to insure there is still a cop on the beat?
22) Do you believe that the people who serve your food or clean your office are entitled to a minimum wage on which they are capable of supporting a family?
23) Do you believe that your administration’s disproportionate representation of minority communities is a strong argument in favor of the affirmative action policies that you eliminated as governor?
24) How will you fund you the 100,000 additional troops you’ve proposed while drastically cutting everyone’s taxes?
25) In 2007, you criticized then-candidate Obama for saying that he would strike at al Qaeda targets in Pakistan. Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, will you acknowledge that you were wrong on this critical foreign policy issue?
26) In 1994, you promised to be better than Ted Kennedy on gay rights, but by the time you were governor you were one of the leading voices opposing the legalization of gay marriage. Do you think you fulfilled your promise, and if not why did you abandon it?