Intelligence Squared debate: Do Grandma's benefits imperil Junior's future? Oct. 4 at NYU.

Live debates about fascinating and contentious topics.
Sept. 23 2011 3:46 PM

Grandma's Benefits Imperil Junior's Future

How you can watch—and participate in—the live Slate/Intelligence Squared debate Oct. 4 at NYU.

Child and her grandmother.
Is entitlement reform necessary for future generations?

As Texas Gov. Rick "Ponzi scheme" Perry may be learning, entitlement reform is a risky issue for any politician seeking national office. Sixty percent of Americans oppose cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits. A candidate with an interest in, say, winning the election, is more likely to support the status quo than advocate for benefit slashing. Off the campaign trail, many economists and politicians insist that cutting entitlements is the key to future fiscal security. Another group counters that other government programs are far more problematic, and should be cut first.

This contentious question of entitlement reform is the subject of the next Slate/Intelligence Squared U.S. live debate on Oct. 4. We'd like to invite you to attend the debate—we're offering Slate readers a 30 percent discount on tickets (see below)—and you're invited to submit questions for the debaters. We'll pick the most interesting one and moderator John Donvan will ask it at the debate.

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The proposition of the debate is "Grandma's benefits imperil Junior's future." In other words, do entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid saddle young Americans with unmanageable debt, asking them to sacrifice their future for the sake of today's elderly and poor? Or if we cut these programs, would we be balancing the budget on the backs of the aged and sick, leaving behind society's most vulnerable?

Can't be at the event? Come back here Tuesday night to watch streaming video of the event.

Watch live streaming video from intelligencesquaredus at livestream.com

Join us at NYU's Skirball Center in New York City for an Oxford-style live debate. Fox News commentator Margaret Hoover and Mort Zuckerman, chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report will argue for the motion. Howard Dean, the former DNC Chairman and Gov. of Vermont will team up with Jeff Madrick, the editor of Challenge magazine, to argue against the motion.

If you've got a question for the debaters, write it below in the comments section of this article. We'll select one to read live at the debate. Be sure to include your full name and hometown with your question.

The details about the debate:

When/Where: Oct. 4, 2011 at Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, New York University, located at 566 LaGuardia Place (at Washington Square South).

The evening begins at 5:45 p.m. with a cash-bar reception for panelists and audience members; the live debate starts at 6:45 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. For venue information, click here.

Tickets: $40 ($12 for students with ID). Purchase tickets here, and be sure to enter the special Slate promotional discount code, Slate30, to receive 30 percent off your ticket.