Did you watch the presidential debate on Wednesday night? It is absolutely amazing how they can have an hour and a half debate about the economy and say so little. It seemed like both candidates were falling all over each other wanting to talk about how much they value education, but will more education really solve our problems? After all, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor's degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed in 2011. So perhaps they should just both agree that education is a good thing and start talking about how to create more jobs for all of us. If you want to grade the debate from a technical standpoint, clearly Romney was the winner of the debate. Romney was full of energy and was generally sharp with his answers. Obama looked like he had just popped a couple of antidepressants and was ready for nap time. As a result, this might have been the worst blowout in the history of presidential debates. A CNN/ORC International poll that was taken right after the debate found that 67 percent of all Americans that had watched the debate thought that Romney was the winner. Never before had any presidential candidate crossed the 60 percent mark in the history of their post-debate polling. So Romney definitely had a big night. But the reality is that both candidates were telling the American people what they want to hear. If either Obama or Romney told the truth about what we are facing they would lose votes, and in a race this tight both of them really want to avoid doing that. Obama and Romney both desperately want to win this election, and the words that are coming out of their mouths have been carefully crafted to appeal to the "undecided voters" in the swing states. If you actually believe that they can deliver on everything that they are promising, then you must not have been paying much attention to U.S. politics over the past several decades.
Perhaps the biggest failure on Wednesday night was debate moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS. His questions were about as far from "hard hitting" as you could get.
The hour and a half debate was almost entirely about the economy, and yet almost all of the critical economic issues were ignored.
Yes, Obama and Romney have slight differences when it comes to tax rates and regulations, but those small differences are not going to do much to change the direction of this country one way or another.
Meanwhile, there were some really huge issues about the economy that were not addressed at all last night....
1 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the Federal Reserve was not mentioned a single time.
2 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, Ben Bernanke was not mentioned a single time.
3 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, quantitative easing was not mentioned a single time.
4 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the term "derivatives" was not used a single time. Considering the fact that derivatives could bring down our financial system at any moment, this is an issue that should be talked about.
5 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, there was no mention of the millions of jobs that have been shipped out of the country. Considering the fact that both Obama and Romney have played a role in this, it is probably a topic they both want to avoid. Overall, the United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.
6 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, neither candidate mentioned that the velocity of money has plunged to a post-World War II low.
7 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the fact that the rest of the world is beginning to reject the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency was not mentioned a single time, but this has enormous implications for our economy in the years ahead.
8 - The fact that the Social Security system is headed for massive trouble was only briefly touched on during the debate. At the moment, there are approximately 56 million Americans that are collecting Social Security benefits. By 2035, that number is projected to grow to an astounding 91 million. Overall, the Social Security system is facing a 134 trillion dollar shortfall over the next 75 years. When are our politicians going to honestly address this massive problem?
9 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the nightmarish drought the country is experiencing right now was not mentioned a single time.
10 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the financial meltdown in Europe was basically totally ignored. But considering the fact that Europe has a larger economy and a much larger banking system than we do, perhaps someone should have asked Obama and Romney what they plan to do when the financial system of Europe implodes.
11 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, the student loan debt bubble was only briefly mentioned.
12 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, there was not a single word about the fact that the gap between the wealthy and the poor is now larger than it has been at any point since the Great Depression.
13 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, there was no mention of TARP (which they both supported at the time). Would they both bail out the big banks if another financial crisis erupted?
14 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, there was no mention of the economic stimulus packages (which they both supported at the time). Would they both want more "economic stimulus" if we entered another recession?
15 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, neither candidate talked about the fact that most of the jobs our economy is producing now are low income jobs. In fact, since the end of the last recession, 58 percent of the jobs that have been created are low paying jobs.
16 - In an hour and a half debate about the economy, neither candidate mentioned that more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government or that more than half of all Americans are now at least partially financially dependent on the government. I can't blame Romney for avoiding this point though - he probably wanted to avoid the phrase "47 percent" at all costs.
Is this really the best that America can do?
Tens of millions of Americans tuned in hoping to become more informed about the candidates, and instead what they got was an hour and a half of tap dancing as Obama and Romney constantly tossed out buzzwords such as "education", "energy independent" and "middle class".
I honestly don't know how you can possibly have a debate about the economy without talking about the Federal Reserve, quantitative easing, the trade deficit, Europe or the decline of the U.S. dollar.
But it just happened right in front of our eyes.
I don't think that I can ever remember another presidential debate that lacked substance as much as this one did.
So what did you all think about the debate? Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below....