Do Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future?

Howard Dean argues against the motion "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Oct. 4. i i

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Howard Dean argues against the motion "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Oct. 4.

Samuel Lahoz
Howard Dean argues against the motion "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Oct. 4.

Howard Dean argues against the motion "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on Oct. 4.

Samuel Lahoz

As Democrats and Republicans argue over the national debt, one of the stickiest points has been the so-called entitlement programs, including Medicare and Social Security.

And beyond party lines, the issue has a generational component that can't be overlooked: Is helping seniors make ends meet only generating mountains of debt that will hamper future generations?

A team of experts chewed over that topic in the latest Intelligence Squared U.S. debate. They faced off two against two in an Oxford-style debate on the motion "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future."

Before the debate, the audience at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts voted 40 percent for the motion and 24 percent against, with 36 percent undecided. After the debate, 38 percent of the audience agreed that "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future," while 56 percent disagreed — making the side arguing against the motion the winners. Six percent remained undecided.

Those participating in the Oct. 4 debate, moderated by ABC News' John Donvan:

FOR THE MOTION

Fox News commentator Margaret Hoover is the author of American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party. Hoover is a veteran of the Bush White House, where she worked in the Office of Management and Budget and served as associate director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. She has worked on two presidential campaigns, at the Department of Homeland Security and on Capitol Hill.

Margaret Hoover and Mort Zuckerman argued that "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Oxford-style debate at New York University's Skirball Center. i i

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Margaret Hoover and Mort Zuckerman argued that "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Oxford-style debate at New York University's Skirball Center.

Samuel Lahoz
Margaret Hoover and Mort Zuckerman argued that "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Oxford-style debate at New York University's Skirball Center.

Margaret Hoover and Mort Zuckerman argued that "Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future" during an Oxford-style debate at New York University's Skirball Center.

Samuel Lahoz

Mort Zuckerman is chairman and editor in chief of U.S.News & World Report and publisher of the New York Daily News. He is also the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Boston Properties Inc. A frequent commentator on The McLaughlin Group, Zuckerman is a trustee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

AGAINST THE MOTION

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean served as governor of Vermont for 12 years. He left office in 2003 to seek the Democratic nomination for president. Formerly a full-time practicing physician, Dean currently works as an independent consultant focusing on health care, early childhood development, alternative energy and the expansion of grass-roots politics around the world.

Economic analyst Jeff Madrick is editor of Challenge magazine and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is the author of several award-winning books, including Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present. Madrick has also served as an economics columnist for The New York Times and as a policy consultant and speechwriter for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and other U.S. legislators.

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