Forget Trump Not Accepting Election Results; Real Problem Is Neither Candidate Will Stop Debt

Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Andrew Heaton hash out the stakes of the final presidential debate.



On the latest Reason podcast, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Katherine Mangu-Ward and standup comic and author Andrew Heaton talk with me about the final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

While most of the coverage has involved press outrage over Trump's supposedly unprecedented unwillingness to proactively accept his electoral defeat on November 8, we looked at the said and the unsaid. Did the candidates actually lay out plausible, coherent foreign policy plans (no)? Is either serious about addressing mounting debt and entitlement spending (no)? Are there reasons for Americans to feel like the "system" is screwing them over (mixed)? And would the debates have been made better and more informative by letting on the stage Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and other candidates who are on the ballot in enough states to theoretically win the election (yes)?

Produced by Ian Keyser.

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NEXT: The Final Presidential Debate Covered Much We'd Already Heard and One Thing We Hadn't

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I'd just like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kate McKinnon on 4 years of guaranteed employment with Saturday Night Live.

    1. Is that the little blond dude that does the Hillary impression?

      1. You're thinking of Macaulay Culkin, the, "Home Alone," kid, Sparky. It's a common mistake.

        1. Thanks, doc. I thought he was much older.

    2. Kate McKinnon's impression of Hillary is what Hillary wishes she was: Likable, engaging, and full of life.

    3. Kate who?

      Was she in the O'Keefe videos reason won't talk about?

  2. "Forget Trump not accepting election results"

    If you want us to forget it, why'd you post that shitty Suderman article a few hours ago? Sheesh.

    1. It's almost like Reason has multiple writers who don't always agree on everything.

      1. It's a possibility too horrible to contemplate.

      2. Yeah, it's almost like that.

      3. Whaaaaaa?????

      4. Well, they need to start whipping them into shape.

        They also need to cover exactly the same things as the Daily Caller and Breitbart, or I'm cancelling my subscription!

  3. Nick,

    Do you think that removing the income cap on Social Security taxes would, first, reduce the institutional debt of the United States and, two, make the system fairer for younger and poorer taxpayers? Isn't that what you [rightly] complain about and isn't HRC's plan a good way to address these two serious issues?

    1. If we're going to admit that its not a government managed pension, let's go all out and means test recipients, too.

      1. It's not necessary to do that. Once you remove the income caps you make Social Security solvent until SkyNet takes over-- and who cares what happens after that?

        Is the only criticism of this proposal that after adjusting the tax rates for this program so that a 64-year old guy making a million dollars a year pays the same rate of taxes as a 19 year old guy making ten thousand dollars a year that this program will somehow be seen as the moral equivalent of welfare. Gee, that's terrible.

        1. "Once you remove the income caps you make Social Security solvent until SkyNet takes over"

          Not True.

          1. Here's the numbers from the SSA and not They say 2080. SkyNet takes over in 2061.


            1. Oh, goodie. More lies from the gov't liars.
              Hey, asswipe, I got a real deal on the north anchorage of a bridge near here, but ya gotta act quick!
              Fucking imbecile...

            2. Leave it to the National Socialist to combine the SS and SA into a single fount of Gospel.

            3. Your link is fucked up.

              Also, if you bothered reading the article, you would have seen that the numbers were from a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, which is a leading liberal think tank. Not a website pulling numbers out of their ass.

        2. Given that that 19 year old gets back more than he pays in and ss is supposed to be an earned pension plan and not welfare, explain what is "fair" about stealing more money. Oh, that's right, you want it more so you're entitled to it.

        3. How do you make it solvent by removing the income cap? If the return on SS is at or less than the rate of inflation (plus program administration costs) it will still lose money.

          Removing the cap is not a panacea - a diversified portfolio (as diversified as your means allows) is a better hedge than hoping that SS will remain solvent no matter what you do with it.

          All that is, of course, ignoring a basic question - why are the people whose income reaches the cap responsible for funding your retirement?

          The cap is there because it recognizes a key concept - this is not a *social* scheme (even though social is in the name), its a *personal* one. And people making enough to reach the SS cap are making enough to handle their own retirement planning without outside help and so are not required to contribute.

          Its why groups like the Amish have been exempt - they have their own scheme to handle this issue.

        4. You just live in the false choice world where all you care about is making SS solvent at someone else's expense, and as long as you think you'll come out OK, then you're OK.

          Sorry: that's not where everyone else is.

      2. Just get rid of it and let old people go on welfare like everyone else who refuses to work.

        1. Not bad... for a millennial.

      3. That's precisely what johnson wants to do. So if you committed the mortal sin of saving your whole life while someone else spent everything they earned, they get rewarded and you get punished. Seems fair.

        1. Johnson doesn't support raising the cap (he actually wants to eliminate payroll taxes). He does support means testing (which I think can be both defended and opposed on libertarian grounds), but he's also been supportive of privatization.

          1. Try reading the thread next time. I was responsing to Brett about means testing and this is exactly what johnson wants to do. Please explain how means testing, which is just another form of redistribution, can be defended on libertarian grounds.

            1. Social Security itself inherently involves redistribution and can't be defended on libertarian grounds. Any attempt to "fix" it can only be justified on utilitarian grounds.

              One way or another and sooner or later, someone is getting fucked over with SS. Either people who have paid in will not get benefits (whether it's because of a means test or just running out of money), or the benefits won't be worth shit because of inflation.

              1. Means testing is especially pernicious because it rewards bad behavior and punishes prudence. I can marginally understand the proposals that everyone get the same ss benefit regardless of income but that still rewards bad behavior and punishes good.

            2. My bad on the first part, I thought all those were replies to AS.

              The same way that not having basic income can be defended on libertarian grounds. I don't know that mass-welfare is really better than targeted welfare even if it might be less redistributive. Ultimately though, I think these changes affect the actual nature of the program marginally - SS is and always will be (in its current form) a redistribution program. There's no way around that. In addition to lowering government spending, I think you can make the argument that means testing would make it easier for people to see this, and get rid of the notion that it's just an individual retirement plan managed by the government.

              1. So making it an even more explicit welfare program is making it more libertarian. Makes perfect sense. We should probably confiscate all guns just to make it easier for people to see the effects of incremental gun control as well.

    2. I certainly hope that Nick replies that the $1.12 that remains in the SS "trust fund" be rammed up the ass of the exhumed body of FDR.

    3. Way to mix up your ordinals and your cardinals.

      1. Is now really the time to talk about birds?

        1. Birds? I thought they were the pointy hat dudes.

            1. You leave Fist alone!

          1. What does the Ordinal's hat look like??

        2. I thought he was talking about Papist clergy.

          1. How do you know what diocese a dead bishop is from?

              1. Tattooed on the back of their neck!

                /Sorry, I'm a Python junkie.

                1. That good sir, is nothing to apologize for.

                  I would like to buy you some spam, spam spam, bacon and spam.

                  1. I have to say, that may be my least favorite Monty Python bit. Quite possibly just from overuse.

        3. He's talking ball teams, which is dumb because Baltimore and St Louis were both eliminated early.

      2. Look, amsoc still self-describes as a socialist after the 20th century happened and is currently shilling for a fascist - numerical terminology is the least mixed up thing about him.

        1. Although it does explain why he couldn't figure out how to pay his mortgage.

        2. If there's one thing I learned by reading the Internet, it's that people don't really understand left/right and the difference between all the -isms.

          1. Hell, even within those -isms there are left/right divisions. Nazism and communism both had factional left/right wings. Hitler purged the left-wing nazis, and Stalin deftly played both sides against each other throughout the 20s & early 30s, though I'd argue that since he eventually settled down into nationalistic authoritarianism it ultimately put him mostly on the right-wing side.

            1. We see left/right divisions of libertarian-ism played out right here every day

            2. Question: by "right-wing" (invented in 1932), don't you mean Christian? and by left-wing, do you not lump together freethinker and jewish cultures?

            3. I've seen other efforts to redefine Soviet communism as "right wing". Sorry, I'm not buying. Here is a little refresher for you from Wikipedia (under "Stalinism"):

              "Stalinism is the means of governing and related policies implemented by Joseph Stalin. Stalinist policies in the Soviet Union included state terror, rapid industrialization, the theory of socialism in one country, a centralized state, collectivization of agriculture, cult of personality in leadership, and subordination of interests of foreign communist parties to those of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union?deemed by Stalinism to be the most forefront vanguard party of communist revolution at the time.[1]
              Stalinism promoted the escalation of class conflict, utilizing state violence to forcibly purge society of claimed supporters of the bourgeoisie, regarding them as threats to the pursuit of the communist revolution that resulted in substantial political violence and persecution of such people.[2] These included not only bourgeois people but also working-class people accused of counter-revolutionary sympathies.[3]"

              1. I would add, there have been murderous dictatorships on the left and the right over the last several decades. My concern above is about the attempt by some to absolve the Left of support for such dictatorships and blame everything on the Right. I don't want to see history books in 20 years chalking Stalin's socialism up to the right wing. Let's give "credit" where credit is due.

      3. Hey - don't talk bad about AZ' shitty football team.

    4. It would reduce the gap in the Social Security trust fund, yes. But at a very high cost--including disincentivizing work. More importantly, though, Social Security is not a retirement system and it shouldn't continue to be sold as one. Pure and simple, it's a transfer program from relatively young and poor people to relatively old and wealthy people. If we want to create a guaranteed income plan for retirees (not a good idea, imo), let's just do that and fund it out of general tax revenues. Demographic math is against open-ended entitlement programs. They are a holdover from a time that no longer exists and address problems that no longer exist. Pledging to maintain a program that greatly hampers inter-generational transfer of wealth (your parents' benefits die with them) is no way forward.

      1. Nick, that's not the reply I hoped for........It was better.

      2. Pledging to maintain a program that greatly hampers inter-generational transfer of wealth (your parents' benefits die with them) is no way forward.

        I hadn't consider this point. Thank you for bringing it up.

        1. It's important to remember that SS was never meant to be the "pension" it's portrayed as today. Most people around the time it was created, in fact, died before ever receiving it. It was only supposed to be a sort of emergency fund for the few who happened to live longer.

          1. And it still works that way for black men.

          2. You mean a government program was sold to the public as beneficial program is really just a scheme to take your money? Does Barack know about this?!?

            1. It was a two step process. It wasn't until Johnson was president that they just dumped the income from the SS tax in the general revenue fund and spent it. There was a good 15 years where they actually had a funded trust fund.

              1. That lying son of a bitch Johnson and this war.

                1. It's Bush's fault. Just ask commie-kid.

      3. They are a holdover from a time that no longer exists

        And like unions, won't be going away ever.

      4. Let's set aside your holistic objections about disincentivizing the work of 85 year olds (I'm looking forward to retiring, Nick. Are you?) doesn't removing the salary caps on social security extend the program and make it fairer to younger and poorer taxpayers?

        1. It would disincentivize work from non retirees. By definition. Suspend further discussion until you grasp that concept, you adorable pinko.

      5. Damn it Nick!

        You choose to descend from your Orange Tower and mix it up with the commentariat, and you wast your time answering a known troll who pretty much always "argues" in bad faith?

        (Your answer is pretty much spot on though.)

        1. In this case, the troll asked a question that does come up a lot. Whatever dickhead's intentions, it was a worthwhile response.

      6. Thankfully the UBI which you support doesn't disincentivize work.

    5. Go eat a bullet commie.

    6. I'll answer.

      1. No, it won't reduce the institutional debt of the United States. If there's money in the kitty it will be spent. Doubly so if you can fiddle-fuck the figures and pretend there's a separate pot of money set aside for SS instead of all that money being dumped into the General Fund.

      2. No, it wouldn't be fairer for younger or poorer taxpayers. What would be 'fairer' by your standards would be allowing them to opt out while continuing to force the 'rich' to pay in. What would actually be fair would be to close down SS altogether and teach these people some basic economics right from the start - things like 'someday you may not be able to work and you should calculate that into your present spending' and 'government won't be there to take care of you when you're older because government doesn't give a shit about anything past the next election' - and get them to invest their money in a broad range of savings vehicles (stocks, deferred retirement accounts, NOT INVESTING ALL THEIR MONEY IN THEIR OWN COMPANY'S PENSION PLAN, stuff like that) and not depending on the largesse of politicians to keep them in cat food at 70.

    7. "removing the income cap on Social Security taxes"

      So the government can steal even MORE wealth?

      The government has plenty of money. Take the money from somewhere else if you want to spend it on SS.

      But first, reform it (or abolish it, either one) so that it doesn't remain a perpetual nightmare for years to come.

    8. Cut to the chase. What you are saying is "Do you think increasing taxes . . .?" Any increased revenue (assuming it does actually increase) will just be wasted. Debt is something you leave for the next generation to pay off.

  4. Journalists like Pete pants shitting because trump won't concede something three weeks away is bizarre

    1. Commenters endlessly harping on it is even more bizarre. (It's in there but you may need to squint)

  5. And Gillespie comes in with the balanced article for the save.

  6. Is there some deep meaning in the minute of silence starting at 6:30?

    1. And another at the 12:00 or so mark. All I hear is Nick grunting.

      1. Every once in a while, just for fun, The Jacket allows its host a few moments of self-awareness and fruitless struggle for freedom.

        1. 30 comments before anyone noticed. The Jacket has a sad.

          1. The Jacket is above such petty human emotions as sadness, remorse, joy, love, etc.

            1. The Jacket's coming was foretold in 1979:

              You still don't know what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism.
              Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility...I admire its purity, a survivor,
              unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusion of morality. "
              ? Ash, Alien

  7. Can't hear the guests at all. You done goofed.

    1. That or Nick has A Beautiful Mind.

      1. Not Nick, The Jacket. The Jacket inhabits a world of shadows and dust. That we can only see its three-dimensional form is a blessing.

  8. Both looter parties continue to endorse shoot-to-kill prohibitionism and to protect asset-forfeiture looting with impunity. These were the ingredients in every major economic crash that left the nation impoverished and debt-ridden. Asset-forfeiture was invented during the Herbert Hoover administration, revived by the Nixon dictatorship, expanded by the Bush-Reagan r?gime, abetted by the Clinton administration and used to again crush the economy during the faith-based Bush debacle ramping up to the 2007 Crash/Depression. The Flash Crashes coincided embarrassingly with prohibitionist Kristallnachts and bank account seizures until the stock markets were coerced to disguise them. Republicans are worse for the economy than Democrats precisely because money in banks cannot simultaneously be confiscated by superstitious looters AND expand the money supply. It's Either-Or.

  9. What if technology continues to advance and we start living to 120 and 130?

    Or will that "privilege" be limited to those who make sufficient campaign donations and everyone else gets the Logan's Run treatment?

    1. Two words: Soylent green.

  10. Checking in for reason's coverage, however minuscule, of incredibly damning evidence of DNC/HRC/MSM collusion and astroturfing violence.

    10 or so articles parroting one line of a debate for click bait - something a certain reason writer deplored just recently.

    I'll just check back later then. I'm sure the reporting is stuck in traffic or something.

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