Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Obama's Town Hall - Two More Questions I'd Ask

The Obama's Twitter Town Hall went actually pretty well today. Sure, most of it was the usual questions, with the president answering the question he wanted and not the one asked. But, it did seem to have a lively feel to it.

Two question's I wanted to blurt out at my computer today were:

  1. The President mentioned:
    It’s estimated that we have about $2 trillion worth of infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt. Roads, bridges, sewer lines, water mains; our air traffic control system doesn’t make sense. We don’t have the kind of electric grid that’s smart, meaning it doesn’t waste a lot of energy in transmission. Our broadband system is slower than a lot of other countries.

    For us to move forward on a major infrastructure initiative where we’re putting people to work right now -- including construction workers who were disproportionately unemployed when the housing bubble went bust -- to put them to work rebuilding America at a time when interest rates are very low, contractors are looking for work, and the need is there, that is something that could make a huge, positive impact on the economy overall. And it’s an example of making an investment now that ends up having huge payoffs down the road.
    My question: I thought infrastructure was a key goal of the original stimulus? Did the original stimulus end up not impacting infrastructure, was it a drop in the bucket, or what? From the sound of things, it appears like we're still waiting to get started on improving our infrastructure.
  2. The final'ish question was:
    James: “I’d cut costs by cutting some welfare programs. People will never try harder when they are handed everything.”
    The president did a eloquent job of explaining why welfare is a good thing. Though, I would love to see some hard numbers on this. How often are folks staying on welfare? What is being "handed" to these people? (From my experience, not a whole heck of a lot - so implying that they are getting *everything* is off base). In other words, rather than make this question about "are people leeching the system" vs. "should we invest in our citizens" - I'd love to actually know whether this argument has any weight to it.

Like I said, it was an entertaining little shtick and I thought, in many ways, it actually worked.

Now, the GOP Twitter Debate, where they'll be debating in 140 character blocks, sounds like a nightmare to me. But hey, maybe it'll make for entertaining responses. We'll just have to wait and see.

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