30 Issues in 30 Days: Nominate an Issue

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Brian Lehrer Show and It's a Free Country are about to launch their election series 30 Issues in 30 Days. Each day between now and the mid-term election, we'll be going beyond the horse race and talking about the issues that matter. What do you want to hear discussed? It can be national or local; related to Senate, Congress or other important races.

Callers into the Brian Lehrer Show have helped us start the list. T. Howard in Queens said it's time to focus on the real backbone of American economy: oil policy. Christopher in Armonk suggested linking school funding to income taxes instead of property taxes. Ruth in Westchester wants to talk about repealing the Second Amendment in the wake of Supreme Court rulings that have restricted local gun control measures. And small business owner Joseph in Massapequa had questions about how new tax rates and the health insurance overhaul could affect his bottom line. 

What do you want to know about this election season? Leave a comment below to nominate your issue and any other suggestions for the series here, and stay tuned!



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Comments [20]


I also think it's important to bring up environmental policy issues espoused by Democratic and Republican candidates - especially the clear distinctions and opposite positions (and beliefs) about the human causes of Global Climate Change.

We are polluting the environment and stealing the resources that our children and grandchildren depend on. Everything that's important in our lives - our national security, financial security and personal freedoms matter little if we poison the planet.

Oct. 01 2010 03:07 PM
Amy from Manhattan

You don't provide a way to rank the issues, but I'd make global climate disruption #1. I used to say if we didn't deal w/that, none of the other issues would matter, but then I realized it's not that; instead, it's that nearly all the other problems would get that much worse. I've posted the list before, so I'll spare you this time (& save it for when the segment airs!).

But beyond global climate disruption, we need to discuss other environmental issues, like mountaintop-removal coal mining (even if the coal is burned more "cleanly"), nuclear waste disposal, habitat destruction, overpopulation, environmental racism....

Sep. 29 2010 02:11 AM
Jen from queens

about climate change and real actions from real people and why is bill mckibben actions not strong enough when 350 is discredited as a scientific number to accomplish it? and whihc will support a ban on frack drilling? also about community gardens, which candidiates support preserving all of them?

Sep. 26 2010 10:27 PM
JK Canepa from New York City

As the earth enters its sixth major extinction event, and storms and other weather-related events strike with more deadly and frequent force, and as we come to the close of the hottest summer ever documented in a decade that set records for heat, the topic of greatest urgency is climate change (what some call global warming) and this nation's refusal to craft climate legislation that will address this crisis. (The Kerry-Lieberman bill was not the answer.)

Sep. 26 2010 07:57 PM
FCC Broadcast-license restrictions on campaign ads from NYC

Should the FCC create restrictions on campaign commercial time - as a Broadcast LICENSING requirement ?

***QUESTION : Could this be done via REGULATION or executive
order - without requiring additional legislation at this point ??

Concept :

The 1st ammendment guarantees our
right to free speech and expression but
NOT to free (or unlimitted) BROADCASTING on the public airwaves.

Broadcast TV and radio are not allowed to
violate community standards of decency - for example. If they do so, they face fines
or loss of their license.

Broadcast restrictions do not prevent people from standing on a soap box and
expressing their views - it just prevents them from using the public airwaves
to do so.

Excessive spending on campaign ads
is harmful to the public interest - potentially corrupting public policy, leading to dependency on special interests to secure
essential donations for ads, and potentially
leading to purchased elections.

Should the FCC restrict these broadcasts -
removing (and reauctioning) the licenses
of networks that violate these BROADCAST standards ? (Much as it
would for a TV broadcaster who repeatedly
broadcast porn ?) (It wouldn't increase the
deficit to do so, in fact, it might be revenue generating).

Broadcast stations could be restricted in the amount/time of campaign ads that they could run for any candidate.
(and restricted on any PAC ads within 3 months of a national election).

Is it possible ? Is it desireable ?
Can it be done without new legislation ?

This approach might help restore the honesty of the political system and is
of potentially fundamental importance
to public policy.

Sep. 20 2010 06:17 PM
G.T. from Manhattan


How about the issue of Poverty and Homelessness in America?

I mean: how often was this discussed during the sham presidential "debates" in 2008?

How about the inflated cost of college education?

Sep. 20 2010 04:46 PM
Giuseppe from Manhattan

In tomorrow's issue discussion (tax cuts) it would be interesting to have the advocate of tax cuts address the recent report of Moody's Analytics that empirically demonstrated wealthy American are basically indifferent to taxes in their spending habits whereas they are much more sensitive to economic cycles.

I believe this applies even more to small businesses.

Sep. 20 2010 02:15 PM
Elizabeth from New Jersey

I understand the first topic will be the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and whether their expiration would result in a tax on small business, which as we always hear is the engine of the economy. My husband owns a small business in which I also work fulltime. We have just under 50 employees. We are unable to understand the charge that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts will be a tax on our business. We understand that if we have good year, we could potentially pay more in personal income tax. However, we would probably under those circumstances invest more money in our company, increasing business spending, rather than pay the extra money to ourselves and thus avoid or reduce the additional tax on our personal income. The effect of their expiration for us would be to increase demand and stimulate the economy, not tax our business. If the money came to us through a tax cut, we would try to save it to make up for our retirement investment losses. This additional income to us would not help stimulate the economy. We would of course like to get it, but it would be detrimental to this fragile economy and ultimately to our business as we really do rely on a healthy economy to keep our business healthy.

Sep. 20 2010 02:11 PM
Jose Maiorino from Edgewater, NJ

On October 22, 2009 we received a booklet from our health insurer, Horizon Medicare Blue Access w/Rx Standard (HMO-POS), informing us that our monthly premium will be changed from $65.30 in 2009 to $127.10 in 2010. This is an increase of almost 100 %. For people that are on fixed income.
The document is identified as 8551(W1009), in case you want to check.
I understand that this change is approved at the state level, but it may violate federal law.
At any rate, I would like to know what criteria was used to approved to approve such an increase.

Sep. 20 2010 11:58 AM
Dave from Yonkers, NY

Question for candidates:
What are you going to do about men's rights and boys' education? In our society today men live shorter lives than women, fewer men are employed and graduate from college than women.
Men, not women are required to register for the draft. If they join the military, they are more likely to be sent into more dangerous combat situations,and to be injured or killed.

Our current educational model favors girls, over boys. There should be a greater effort to recruit male teacher role models and affirmative action taken to increase educational success of boys for more gender equality with girls.
What does the candidate propose to do to address these inequalities?

Sep. 20 2010 11:58 AM
Gary Rosenberger from NYC

Will the Tea Party do to the Republican Party what hippies and radicals did to the Democrats so long ago? Where is the Silent Majority on this albatross?

Sep. 20 2010 11:54 AM

Are we getting the best Return on Investment for our Military and National Security Spending?

The USA spends more money than many other countries combined on its military and it makes up a significant portion of our budget.

Does all of this money on bases, advanced weaponry, soldiers, etc.. accomplish its intent which is to keep us safe? With all of this spending, we have suffered terrorist attacks in the 90s and on 911.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend feeding, clothing and equipping a soldier does not seem like money well spent when they are killed by an IED which doesn't seem to cost a lot of money to make.

For the amount of money we spend, there should be no problems in Iraq or Afghanistan. We should have a compliant Pakistan and a subdued North Korea and Iran. We should be able to keep the price of oil in a band that keeps gas prices between $1.80-$2.25. We should not be having problems defeating people who are living in Afghan caves and not spending as much money as we are on war.

If we have built a Military and National security apparatus that is not compatible for our foreign policy strategy and in fact have wasted billions and trillions over the years, then who should be is held accountable for this?

Sep. 20 2010 11:45 AM
David Amicucci from Tenafly NJ

Congress should have a Constitution amendment for a national language, (English)!

Sep. 20 2010 11:37 AM
Amy from Manhattan

To the caller who was concerned about the cost of being required to extend greater health coverage to his employees, employers who do this will get a tax benefit. I believe this is a tax credit, not just a deduction. Pres. Obama explained this to an employer who asked how he could afford insurance at an event earlier this summer; I don't know why the administration isn't publicizing this better!

Sep. 20 2010 11:31 AM

When you have folks discuss whether a tax on the rich is a tax on small business, can you please ask them about the relationship between the tax and how the business is organized. For instance, if an S-corp might have it's taxes go up by X%, but re-organizing as as an LLC would have a different impact, say X-8%, I'd like to know.
The point for me is to make sure that any favorable tax treatment applies to money the business owner keeps in the business, and to increase taxes on what they take out. If that means they have spend a couple thousand to reorganize themselves, they should have to. It's not too much to ask in return for lower taxes that would allow them to grow the businesses (therby making their interest in the business mroe valuable).

Sep. 20 2010 11:29 AM
Katie kennedy from Huntington, NY

Your last caller said his accountant told him his taxes will go up on January 1st because Obama wants the Bush tax cuts to sunset and those making over $250,000 will pay more. Why isn't his accountant honest with him and why isn't it ever explained in the media that only the amount OVER 250,000 will be taxed at the higher rate? So if he makes 275,000 a year, only 25,000 of it will be taxed at the higher rate.

Sep. 20 2010 11:25 AM
Mary Jamison from Queens

Regarding Paladino-Cuomo race. Both intend to attack the wages and pensions of public employees. How is it that we all recognize the economic crisis of the last two yars was caused by the kingpins of High Finance in Wall Street, and their allies in the Federal Reserve, the White House and Congress. But bankers nevertheless get their astronomical salaries and bonuses (taxpayer funded), while guiltless public employees are singled out for blame and attack. What does that aymmetry say about 'balance' in the US media?

Sep. 20 2010 11:24 AM
Mike from kew gardens, NY

Republicans keep saying that "tax hikes" (i.e. restoring the previous tax rates) to families earning over 250,000 will hurt small businesses, and in turn, hurt employment.

Aren't the taxes on net profit, rather than gross income? How does it hurt hiring if a small business owner who makes, say 400,000 net, pays more taxes? If a small business owner is successful, won't he or she hire more people and won't that bring down the net income?

Sep. 20 2010 11:21 AM

many red states seem to be dependant on blue state welfare checks. this effects their economic sustainability and their self respect. why do northeastern representatives continue to push this money into these states. what do taxpayers get out of this deal? and considering the hatred some red staters have for our success and our morals (ie that we fight poverty with education, healthcare etc,) why continue?

Sep. 20 2010 11:20 AM
John Arthur from New Jersey

In light of the anti-establishment sentiment taking hold of a significant portion of the country, it seems time to discuss Alternative Voting. In this system, voters can choose candidates in the order that they prefer them -- and once a candidate is eliminated, your second preference becomes your vote, and so on.

In this way we could vote for a third-party candidate without having to worry about "wasting our vote." So, if I had wanted to vote for Ralph Nader but did not because I did not want a Republican to win, I could have just chosen Nader, then the Democrat, then someone else, etc.

This has worked in Australia for a long time.

Sep. 20 2010 11:08 AM

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