Tuesday night, President Obama outlined his economic initiatives in a speech to the nation. Will the President’s plans to help boost the national economy be successful? And how long will it take for the economy to show signs of recovery? Bob Kinzel talks with Congressman Peter Welch about the nation’s economic situation, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the new Federal stimulus law might benefit Vermont’s renewable energy industry.
Also in the program, reporter analysis of the Vermont Yankee Decommissioning Fund and the plant’s re-licensing and the budget issues facing the state.
Plus, a listen back to some of the voices in the news this week.
Brian from West Glover:
Do you have any idea who the decision-makers will be and how they will decide to use stimulus funds for education in Vermont?
Nash from Glover:
Thinking about Senator Leahy’s Truth Commission proposal, we must
remember that the sterling example set for us by South Africa was that it was a "Truth AND RECONCILIATION" commission. Anyone who testified before that commission was exonerated for any laws they might have broken. There were two important results: the citizens got the information they needed about violations of human rights, and the cycle of evil-doing and retaliation was stopped. We should do the same.
John from Strafford:
The stimulus package provided money for school renovation. My
understanding is that Governor Douglas does not want to use money for
this purpose. While it may be understandable that the Governor does
not want to see the money spent on a wish list of items, is there any
way that some of this money can be used to bring some of our older
school buildings that need work up to current building codes? I am in charge of buildings and grounds for our local school and have buildings (one of which was built in 1860) that could really use this help.
Jim from Northfield:
Congressman Welch regarding the federal government’s bailout and
economic recovery efforts. I am 40 years old and am deeply concerned
about the level of debt the federal government is accumulating. I
suspect Democrat and Republican members of Congress are more than happy
to spend without restraint in the present knowing the full cost of
their fiscal irresponsiblity will be born by subsequent generations. My questions for the Congressman are: 1) How much debt can the U.S. governernment incur without
destroying the U.S. dollar or provoking foreigners to dump dollar
holdings? Is it $15 trillion? $20 trillion? Doesn’t increased
borrowing mean interest rates will probably skyrocket in order to
attract trillions of dollars on the world market?
fall and who will finance the $800 billion Obama bailout package passed
a few weeks ago? Isn’t it dangerous to have foreign interests own a
large portion of the U.S. debt? Doesn’t the U.S. government rely on the
"kindness of strangers" it’s fiscally irresponsible habits? 3) Is the Congressman aware of the fact the price of insurance
against a U.S. government default on its debt has gone up from $700 per
$1 million in bonds in 2007 to $9800 per $1 million in bonds in 2009?
Doesn’t that suggest that U.S. debt is growing increasingly risky to
professional bond investors? I look forward to hearing the Congressman’s answers.
Jon from Royalton:
Hello, I was disappointed to learn that ECFiber was not given any money
in the Stimulus package. This is a non-commercial ‘shovel ready’
project that will benifit many underserved communities with ‘real’ high speed
internet, phone, and tv service. What is Mr Welch’s take on the politics that resulted in the falure to
help with this project?
Is there going to be money in the stimulus program to help local
contractors attend trainings to learn new skills–like
solar/photovoltaic installations? (Here in the Northeast Kingdom
the NorthWoods Stewardship Center is offering its second
solar/photovoltaic workshop in May and there are many local
contractors who would like to take this training but don’t feel they
can afford the cost. This must be true in other areas of Vermont.
Our course is offered by a certified instructor).
Fred from Windsor:
During the first Bank bailout negotiations, it was mentioned that bonus
abuse safe guards were put in place. What has been done to get that
Bruce from South Burlington:
I have a concern with the
generic use of the term ‘hybrid vehicles’ in the package. I hope Mr.
Welch and all other representatives recognize that not all hybrids are
created equal and ensure that models chosen are carefully considered. If, for example, the government fleet is replaced with GM Malibu
hybrids, there will be little to NO gas savings as 1 model of the non
hybrid Malibu gets the SAME mileage as the hybrid. The hybrid gets a
mere 2 MPG better than the other non hybrid model. Plus the hybrid
Malibus are more expensive than the equivalent non hybrid Malibu.
Since the government can’t get a tax credit, replacing the fleet with
Malibu hybrids will COST us money.