Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Obama gets down to business

The president talks of his plans for stimulating the economy in his State of the Union address. Submit your questions about the speech to a top White House official.

By Amey Stone Jan 25, 2011 4:57PM

Austan GoolsbeeThe State of the Union address is President Barack Obama's opportunity to report on the prior year and lay out his agenda for the next 12 months. In his address before Congress and the nation on Tuesday night, he explained how he plans to stimulate the still-struggling economy and create more jobs while controlling government spending.

 

"We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world," Obama said. "We need to make America the best place in the world to do business."

 

As expected, Obama called for greater innovation, improved education and spending on infrastructure to create jobs. He got his biggest laugh of the evening when he quipped that high-speed rail for some trips would be "faster than flying, without the pat-down."

 

As reported earlier in the day, Obama called for a five-year freeze on discretionary spending and some cuts to military spending. He also pledged to improve foreign relations, restructure federal government to make it more efficient, preserve health care reform and restructure the corporate tax structure to make it more equitable. "None of this will be easy," he said. "All of it will take time." 


Readers, no doubt, have plenty of questions about Obama's economic and tax policies. We're going to help get them answered directly from the White House.
 
Please leave your questions about the State of the Union in the comments below. Include your first name and your town or city.
 
Then, on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET, I will sit down with Austan Goolsbee (pictured), chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, and some other journalists, and we'll ask him as many of your questions as we can.
 
Come back to MSN Money to see the live broadcast of the roundtable. You can also read our follow-up article, detailing his answers, later that day.

184Comments
Jan 26, 2011 11:43AM
avatar
How about we start cutting our spending by cutting out the automatic pension for House and Senate representatives.  Seems unfair that they can serve one term and get  pension for life.  I'd like to get that from my employer. How about they switch to 401k's like the rest of us.  Also let's get them on a Health care plan like  the rest of us working stiff's and let them pay a share of the cost like we do.   Could  we also stop them from voting themselves a pay raise.  Most of us working stiff's are on a wage freeze or 2% or less raise.  I can't remember the last time I got a 10% raise.  Think of the money we could save be just getting these three changed.
Jan 26, 2011 9:50AM
avatar
I wonder why our senators an congressmen don't set an example for the rest of americans by taking a pay cut themselves? Giving up their perks and cutting the senate and congress in half. THEY say, we have to tighten our belts, what about them! 
Jan 25, 2011 7:59PM
avatar
I am nearly 80 years old and have had social security as my main income source since 1996.  I often wonder what would make a multimillionaire think that cutting social security benefits will automatically lower the huge loans that remain unpaid due to ongoing expensive artillery used for killing people in the wars that keep hanging on and on with no end in sight.  For the second year again we were denied cost of living increases, due to no inflation (oh yeah, another myth) yet last year the Medicare deductible rose from $ 135 to $ 155 due to "no inflation" and again this year the Medicare deductible rose from $ 155 to $ 162 due to "no inflation" yet federal employees all received cost of living increases of 1.9% despite the "no inflation myth", so my question is how can I qualify for the cost of living increases that the federal workers receive every year since it is no joke trying to maintain any standard of living on the low payments of social security.?  Yes, I'm listening!!
Jan 26, 2011 8:10AM
avatar
ok - why can't we fine or tax the bejesus out of companies who send our jobs overseas and give MAJOR tax breaks to companies that keep our jobs here?   this would help preserve American jobs which is easier (and cheaper) than trying to scare up new ones, don't you think??    and crack down on Wall St. & the big banks, they've been living fat and high for far too long.  Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act while you're at it too.....
avatar
Mr. President: Is there, or is there not, any possible way to establish a fair tax system that does not require a Master's in Economics or a CPA for us poor taxpayers to handle? From what I have read, even if we ask the IRS for help, if they make a mistake, we're held to blame. This Nation was founded in part because of unfair, unwise taxation, and somebody in Washington seems to have forgotten that simple fact of life.
Jan 25, 2011 7:46PM
avatar
Mr. President

What are you doing for the non union worker? The non union work force is greater than the union work force. We all know that the unions in this country are one of this countries biggest problems. The unions are pricing themselves out of the market place.  IF you want to help the majority of the workers in this country get back on their feet do something for the non union workers. You have supported the unions with Federal money; how have you supported the non union worker with Federal money. If we are spending Federal money wouldn't that money be coming from non union workers as well as union workers? What is up with that.
Jan 26, 2011 2:33PM
avatar

The original idea behind capitalism and the industrial revolution is that people would work in factories to earn money to buy the very goods they produced.  Because corporations offshored our jobs for short-term gain, their consumers will soon have no money to buy their products & services. Corporations will crumble unless they’re willing to pay a little more in labor costs, in order to receive that money back in sales. The best way to create jobs is the obvious – END TAX INCENTIVES FOR OUTSOURCING! Move the factories and customer support centers back to the United States.


Alicia, Portland OR

Jan 25, 2011 9:28PM
avatar

Mr. President Why cut entitlements at home when we send billions of dollars on a regular basis "humanatarian aid" to other countries who have decided to let us support them.  Now I'm all for charity if we can afford it.! But we can't.  Why can't we take care of our own first?

Jan 25, 2011 8:14PM
avatar
While appalled at enormity of the bailouts for the banking and auto industries during the recession my understanding is that most of that money is being repaid. Somehow I got the impression that those bailouts were a significant part of the recent deficit balloon. Have those repayments gone to reduce the deficit and to what extent have they improved the treasury's balance sheet?
Jan 25, 2011 7:32PM
avatar

Mr President, ask  that the public representatives give up their paid for by the public health care benefits in exchange for paid for by themselves health care without an adjustment to their compensation if  they are so opposed to ObamaCare. Perhaps if they were faced with the same obstacles and costs that the general population and self employed/small business are they would change their positions. It's easy to oppose something that has no impact on yourself or your family.

 

Melissa from Dallas, Texas

Jan 26, 2011 2:48PM
avatar
All of Social Security's ills would be solved if we would just raise the ceiling on the top contribution amount. Right now you pay into Social Security for your first $90,000. If we raise it to $150,000, we won't have to raise the retirement age OR cut benefits. Why can't we do that?
Jan 25, 2011 9:41PM
avatar
Why don't you make cuts in foreign aid, in stead of social security and other elderly programs.
Jan 26, 2011 8:46PM
avatar

With jobs being the number topic, why reward companies that send American jobs overseas with tax breaks?  Companies that outsource jobs should pay a penalty, not rewarded!

 

Jan 26, 2011 4:28PM
avatar
Dear Mr. President,

Here on street-level as a small business, an entrepreneur, the single-most common frustration is clearly the lock-up of capital in giant corporations who are recording record profits, abundant with cash, and are sitting on it. Most of my valuable time that could go into creating jobs to revolutionize mobile commerce, instead is spent calling and nagging to giant companies to pay their increasingly, needlessly overdue bills. This country doesn't have cash-flow. It's fact, it's policy, and biggest of all, it's mindset. How are we to invent the future and get capital when we can't even get corporations to honor their business transactions?

HERE'S THE QUESTION: Is there not a policy that can be put into play that rewards banks that actually make business loans by access to more favorable overall borrowing rate? That is, if some ratio of  assets-to-new-lending actually determines who gets rewarded.

Perhaps it's a tax policy: companies that meet some kind of job creation markers are only then eligible for favorable tax treatments. Right now, there is no motive for banks, which control the lifeblood of the economy, to ramp up the circulation, when it pays them even better to, *ahem*, sit on their assets.



avatar
MR PRESIDENT     thank u for taking a question from a average joe. im a small business owner -painting. i would like to know why our goverment  bailout of GENERAL MOTORS OF ALL THAT MONEY. I PERSONALLY FEEL SLIGHTED.  THAT WE THE TAX PAYERS WERE NOT OFFERED THE 1ST CHANCE AT THERE INITIAL STOCK OFFERING .NOT ONE SHARE WENT TO THE TAX PAYERS OG THIS COUNTRY. ANOTHER SLAP IN THE FACE OF TAXPAYERS AND THE RICH GETTING RICHER.  THEN THERE IS THE BAILOUT OF JP MORGAN AND BANK OF AMERICA ACCEPTING BAILOUT MONEY AND WERENT LENDING IT OUT FOR A LONG WHILE . THEN THEY WERE FORECLOSING ON OUR FIGHTING  TROOPS HOMES WHILE IN COMBAT AND AGAINST FED. LAW     THANK U SIR     EX VET  RICK GRAMMER   P.S. ALSO NEVER HEARD NOTHING ABOUT OVERSIGHT OF MONEY
Jan 25, 2011 7:57PM
avatar

If republicans want to cut spending as much as they are claiming ....let them start wityh their own excesses that we tax payers are covering...for instance....a pay scale that they create and add to themselves,  If cuts are to be made, let them demonstates their own cuts to themselves first...rather than passing all cuts to those that can least afford it....AS for taxes.. even CPA's have a hard time figureing out what is said in the tax laws that our rlected keep messing with ....I would think a straight flat tax...on goods purchased , not food or cloths....with no exceptions....just might cover us all better than what congress keeps doing, which so far has made things worse.

One other item...the housing mess we have today was helped a lot by a congress that has yet to admit they made a large mistake in the deregulation of the financial industry....and considering the money that lobbyist threw at them to get this done...I have to wonder why,,,that money is not considered a bribe....for anyone one else to accept funds of any kind...it would be fraud...and jail time...what makes that money any different for them than us?

Jan 26, 2011 2:21PM
avatar

I would like to know why we still have legislation in place that gives corporation tax benefits for shipping jobs overseas. There should be legislation that gives companies benefits for hiring Americans, and keeping the jobs in the states.

 

Many middle income degreed professionals jobs have been eliminated in the great recession. What is he proposing to encourage the creation of jobs for American workers in America? We need jobs now - we have been patient long enough.

If more American jobs were created, and filled by American employees, the deficit problem would be greatly reduced.

 

To all of you die hard Republicans, you seem to ignore the facts that it is George W. Bush and the Republican Congress that put us in this financial fiasco. The buildup of the defense department, the tax cuts, and two wars is what is driving us to demise. If the Republican Congress is so gung ho on cutting excess spending, why aren't they starting with their salaries, their outrageous retirement benefits, their health benefits and paid time off benefits? They spend most of their time campaigning, politicking and pandering to their lobbyist. They should reduce their salaries by 5%, pay 20% of their health insurance, and their retirement benefits should not be at levels equal to what they were making as Congressman.

 

Jan 27, 2011 11:07AM
avatar
I am wondering when the President is going to hold the banks feet to the fire and get them to make the modifications to mortgages the TARP Banks agreed to do. In my opinion the only way is to allow the bankruptcy courts to modify mortgages to the  guidelines layed out in the HAMP Program. I am sure the banks would get right to it, faced with this option. The housing crisis is stalling the economy. Getting distressed homeowners paying something and maintaining property values is much better than the mess the banks are creating by stalling, manipulating and foreclosing. The legal fees for all the lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings cannot outweigh getting some payment for these loans, keeping people in their homes and maintaining value.
Jan 26, 2011 4:32PM
avatar

Dear Mr President,

        can America keep funding Israel at seven million dollars every day?.

         

                                            Regards, Fredio.

Jan 26, 2011 4:38PM
avatar
Half the government--and probably half our population--believes Social Security must be cut back if we're ever going to bring down the deficit. The other half believes Social is self-funded and autonomous and can handle demographic swings with reasonable tweaks. On another front, half the folks earnestly believe the new health care bill is a swift descent into bankruptcy, while the other half is told it's intended to LOWER the deficit. I've never seen such a disconnect in our government. There's too much at stake to persist in such confusion. How can the truth be made known--authoritatively and conclusively--so the right decisions can be made?.
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More