What you should know about the second presidential debate

Debates are mostly verbal swordplay as the candidates spew facts at warp speed, trying to spell out a whole agenda in 90 minutes.

Tuesday night’s duel was not different: Obama and Romney faced off in a debate billed to make or break the participants. Obama was looking for his days of ‘Yes We Can’ momentum. And Romney hoped he’d hold on to his bona fides, whatever they are. But as the candidates speed-talked through the details of their respective plans like telemarketing hucksters, here are some facts you should remember about this second debate before you sign on the bottom line for anything Romney says.

The deficit is mostly the by-product of Bush tax cuts to the rich and Bush wars, following his War on Terror.

The latest report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that we have a large but slowing budget shortfall, with the deficit weighing in at $1.1 trillion for 2012. But definitely the issues that are adding the most to our deficit aren’t health care costs, future Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid costs. The money-guzzlers remain the US government overspending for endless wars while repeatedly cutting the flow of income taxes to our Treasury from the rich.

Speaking of tax cuts, how about Romney’s?

Rolling Stone Magazine asks “How does a private-equity kingpin worth at least $250 million pay a lower tax rate—just 14 percent—than many teachers and firemen? By exploiting tax loopholes that favor the rich and hiding his money in the world’s most notorious havens for tax cheats. That’s what Mitt Romney has done, according to his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, a trove of secret Bain Capital documents unearthed by Gawker, and exposés by Bloomberg and Vanity Fair. “The bottom line,” says Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel at Citizens for Tax Justice, “is that these are ways to reduce your taxes that are only available to rich people.”

The five big banks flooded Main Street with debt vehicles.

The systemic lack of proper oversight and firewalls on Wall Street between commercial and investment banks allowed for fleecing of homeowners, loading them down with exploding mortgages, forcing them into foreclosure, then bundling those bad mortgages downstream into still worse securities peddled to the market at large. The banks were double and triple dipping, adding derivatives as well in the fix to expand their leverage in Wall Street’s casino gambling. The Fed hasn’t helped by just printing more money and then asking for taxpayers to pick up the slack in interest. What’s more, the banks are holding onto the money, not lending it.

When US officials asked for more security in Libya, they wanted it in Tripoli, not Benghazi.

The attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi was a tragedy waiting to happen. Republicans have claimed that employees at the Benghazi embassy asked for more security in the days before the attack, but the truth is it was Tripoli, duh, not Benghazi where the attack occurred and where longer hours for security guards were needed.

72 million people would be uninsured under Romney’s health plan.

A recent and real study of Romney’s health care plan shows that it would increase health care premiums for most Americans, leaving some 72 million people uninsured. That means if the Affordable Care Act were repealed, 60 million Americans would remain uninsured. Under Obama’s plan, that number is expected to drop to 27.1 million. That’s a huge difference.

If the DREAM Act were passed, it would add $329 billion to the economy by 2030.

President Obama has promised the pass the DREAM Act—a bill that provides a road to citizenship for young, undocumented students and service members—yet candidate Romney has said he’d veto it. According to a joint report by the Center for American Progress and Partnership for a New American Economy, passing the DREAM Act “would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030.” That’s a dream we’d all love to have.

The “six studies” that lend credibility to Romney’s tax plan are 3 blog posts, 2 conservative reports, 1 op-ed.

The notion that a Romney administration could give a 20 percent tax cut to everyone and then pay for it by eliminating loopholes and deductions for the wealthy has been crushingly refuted by the Tax Policy Center. Romney cited six other “studies” that confirm his plan could work, but those are all dubious: one is a report by the conservative Heritage Foundation, a second from the American Enterprise Institute, a thiird is an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, and three are blog posts.

Lastly, let’s return to Rolling Stone for Romney’s Bermuda Shell Game

Romney has buried an unknown, and perhaps significant, chunk of his wealth in what SEC filings describe as ‘a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney,’ driving speculation that the candidate is worth far more than he has disclosed publicly. Wealthy Americans frequently launder investments through such offshore shell companies, passing themselves off as foreign investors, a scam that makes them exempt from paying U.S. taxes, even on profits from American deals.

Romney created his shell company, Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors, in 1997 and reportedly involved it in many of Bain’s biggest deals, including the takeover of Domino’s Pizza. Yet he failed to report its existence on any financial disclosures prior to his 2010 tax return, even though it is under his control. ‘What is this corporation? What does it do? Why was it set up in a tax haven?’ asks the author Ted Wilkins. ‘There’s a reason why it’s in Bermuda.’”

I say, it’s like the Bermuda Triangle and money vanishes in it like a dark hole in space.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at gvmaz@verizon.net.

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