Did Chris Christie do that well? Marco Rubio? Almost any of last night presidential debate participants? Only if you score according to performance, not content. It’s pretty easy to give a good performance if you dissimulate. Christie and Rubio did just that, as did others.

The moderators and journalists who covered the presidential debate live continue to be misleading. This is disturbing. Even the good journalists scored the debaters according to which one gave the best performance.   Thus, they said, Christie emerged strong.

But Christie’s big point was claiming that the government is lying to us about Social Security. This is entirely bogus. Social Security is not going broke. The money going into the trust fund will be paid by the U.S. government. It’s not being stolen from us.   Social Security will pay at least two thirds of current estimated benefits over the next seventy years. What moderators should have asked is how Christie would reform it without cutting benefits. An increase in the retirement age is a serious benefit cut. We need to expand Social Security benefits based on tax increases.

Then Rubio squirmed out of a good question about how he managed his personal finances. Rubio blamed his problems on being a poor boy.   Most of us have not been poor or working class, but we didn’t taken on debt we couldn’t manage.

Another point raised was to adopt a gold standard for our currency. This would be highly deflationary and recessionary.   Stable money? Again, ideology not economics. We don’t need this after such a slow recovery. As Keynes pointed out, it is highly dangerous.

I could go on, but a debate hosted by CNBC should be much more informative. The goal should not be to stimulate performance but to make content the heart of the debate.

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