Questions That Obama Didn't Get Asked
CNBC.com Senior Writer
Green energy, getting banks to start lending again and the importance of information technology jobs—three issues that would have come up during President Obama's CNBC-sponsored town meeting but didn't.
The hour-long "Investing in America" session provided only so much time for the pre-arranged questions that select audience members were allowed to ask. The questions ranged from relations with Wall Street and Washington to bailouts and housing.
But several audience members who didn't get called on said they have other questions they'd like to see the president answer. They spoke to a CNBC.com reporter after the town hall ended.
"How do we get people back to work by investing in clean-energy products?" asked Lee Geisse, a member of United Steel Workers Local 1046 in Louisville, Ohio asked. "We'd like them to certainly be more aggressive."
Geisse said she and her fellow union members continue to have employment, but she worries that the country is not doing enough to promote jobs that rely less on fossil fuels and more on renewable energy produced domestically.
At the same time, she, like the others interviewed, said they were generally satisfied with the answers Obama did give, even though he didn't get to their questions in a session that actually lasted a few minutes longer than the hour originally planned.
Tammy Rostov, a coffee and tea shop owner from Richmond, Va., related how she wanted to buy a van for her business but was turned down for financing even though her credit is good and the business is doing well.
Banks still aren't lending, and she hopes the administration can do more to encourage credit to responsible borrowers.
"What I would like to see is banks start lending to small businesses," said Rostov, whose business has been in the family for 31 years. "The small business loan (bill) that was passed was a good start, but they have to encourage the banks to lend it out."
For Jack Cullen, president of Modis, an information technology staffing and consulting firm based in Laurel, Md., the issue he would have addressed was encompassing—the lack of confidence that has kept unemployment stubbornly high even as corporate earnings improve and other economic signals show tepid signs of growth.
"What we're waiting for is hiring to come back," Cullen said.. "It still seems to be a lag of confidence that we still have. What we want him to do is instill some confidence."