We Need Real Plans from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Americans will watch the debates to see specific policy ideas from the candidates.

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, right, campaign in swing states in August 2012.
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In the midst of a stalled economy and limited government revenues, some of the highest-paid teachers in the United States—making an average of $76,000 a year, far more than the $47,000 the average private-sector worker makes in Chicago—went on strike in Chicago for, among other things, an additional 16 percent pay increase over four years. Their union insists they're putting the kids first. I don't think anyone's buying that argument, either.

And none of this includes hitting the fiscal cliff in January.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

The Obama administration doesn't have an answer for any of this. The negative ads continue unabated while the media focus on the latest "secret video"—instead of common-sense plans for averting the looming fiscal nightmare, protecting Americans in our embassies worldwide, and bringing real reforms to education. I'm no expert on the economy or the Middle East, but I can tell you that the voters I know are very, very nervous. There's a real sense that our political leaders are fiddling while Rome is burning.

That includes Romney. This latest "secret video" creates an opportunity for him to talk forcefully and specifically on not only why we still need a safety net, but also how we'll pay for it.

Don't underestimate the power of a plan right now. Let's hope we hear one during the debates. In 2008, a stunning 66 million Americans tuned in to watch. This time, I bet even more will.

  • Read Robert Schlesinger: Why Are Conservatives Surprised at How Romney Is Using Ryan?
  • Read James Rickards: Libya Attack and Federal Reserve Policy Illustrate U.S. Weakness
  • Read Mort Zuckerman: Romney Can Rebound From '47 Percent'