Sen. Michael Bennet’s Auraria Townhall Liveblog

Sen. Michael Bennet has organized a townhall on the Auraria Campus this morning to hear from his constituents on the recent debt ceiling deal. I’ll be live-blogging, so feel free to chip in on the debate and add your input to his answers to folks’ questions.

If you have a question, post it in the comments section and I will try to get it to one of the staffers.

48 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. c rork says:

    Our nation is in desperate need of savings, contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan are scamming the system.

    When will the deficit reduction efforts affect members of congress as well as citizens, widening gap between rich and poor.

    A: Gap between rich and poor widening, completely ignored in debt talks. Median family income had gone down over the decade while the cost of healthcare, college had gone up astronomically. Chances of poor getting a college education, advancing is bleak. Is our tax policy driving job growth and providing opportunity? No, incumbent interests have legislated tax code. Senators have best socialist healthcare. For citizens, not so much. Got automatic pay raises in congress, he gave his back.

  2. c rork says:

    Military spending has gone up astronomically with the advent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Does congress have the will to reduce unnecessary spending in the military?

    A: Bennet lays out that 18% of the budget is defense, 48% of total world military budget. More than 9 next governments. Still playing out in a Cold War context. Savings will be realized as Iraq and Afghanistan winds down. Cuts may happen in debt deal through sequester function.

  3. c rork says:

    Will SS, Medicare, Medicaid be cut in the secondary process included in the debt deal.

    A: Any savings in SS should be applied to ensure longevity of SS, not to pay down debt. Will have to cut benefits if no changes are made, but no one would want a 22% cut in benefits. Question is how we ensure that the next generation receives promise of social safety net.

    Gang of Six wanted to not put it on autopilot, look back every ten years to ensure savings.

    Follow up: Will the retirement age be raised?

    A: We’re on a college campus so maybe for some of the students here, also supports raising income cap.

  4. c rork says:

    Republicans want go it alone, no revenue approach. What are the options?

    A: Bennet circulated letter with 32 Ds and 32 Rs advocating for balanced approach, Washington run like no other place in the world. Not like the state, local govt.

    Talks about Grover Norquist, how he thinks reducing all the loopholes in the tax code is supposed be a tax hike even though it is lowering rates.

    Man in crowd “I didn’t vote for that guy”

    Not one mayor on the state who would ever risk the credit rating of their city, ever, even for an ideological issue.  

  5. c rork says:

    the crowd is very understanding, calm and receptive. I have to give the Bennet staff for giving about 19 hours notice on this. There were no protesters outside and the major groups didn’t mobilize a bunch of people to rig the townhall. Pretty awesome crowd, def not angry, just frustrated with congress.

    • Was there any conversation as to why the notice on this event was so short?  I’m not very impressed with 19 hours notice for a Senatorial town hall — that seems to make this event a managed publicity happening, maybe more for the benefit of the speaker and the media than consituents.

  6. c rork says:

    DOn’t you think if we raise taxes too much all of the businesses will go away?

    A: Well I would love to not vote for anything with taxes, but hard decisions must be made. Everybody may not agree, but I think a few of tax rates are maldistributed and burdensome to businesses. Corporate rate high. If we take away deductions we can lower the overall rates.

  7. c rork says:

    I don’t know of a country where the corporations have the same rights as citizens. FOr a lower tax rate will they relinquish rights?

    A: We had most outside money spent in Colorado during the election. Citizens United terrible for democratic process. Air waves commandeered by groups without accountability who have economic interests in election

  8. c rork says:

    How will debt deal affect Colorado?

    Conversation cant just be about cuts, must also be about what we are spending money on. Not maintained assets and infrastructure of our grandparents, much less prepare it for our kids. Shameful to burden next generation. Can’t let it crumble.

    About cut only approach, would cut things like r&d, education, infrastructure to much less than any other developed country.

    Bennet says that he has done something other than politics for most of his life. Wish he could teleport cut only people to Hong Kong harbor to witness revolution in infrastructure, ask them if they still thought cut only approach made sense.

    At point in history where our decisions matter so much but we dont have the politics the address it.

  9. c rork says:

    How will the debt deal affect Pell loans?

    A: I had an event on Auraria campus and asked how many students had Pell loans or grants. Every student raised their hand. My top priorities are education, infrastructure. Last generation benefited immensely from Pell, now are we going to say that next generation can’t have opportunity so we can have tax loopholes?

  10. c rork says:

    On education, is there any way to use campaign funds to educate people on the debt deal, entitlements, tax laws, loopholes.

    A: Got beaten on in townhalls during campaign. Rules for them, ask any question and forget about whatever cable tv you watch. TIme is gone when you could turn on Walter Cronchite, get legitimate info. Media is so splintered, egged on by hyperbolic echo chambers that people listen to only one side of.

  11. dwyer says:

    Right now, a lot of people think that the lack of job growth is due to the debt/deficit. How can the democrats change that perception?

    • c rork says:

      Didn’t get a chance to ask. What I would mention is that the messaging that Bennet has had through the debt debate has been stellar.

      http://blogs.westword.com/late

      Pivoting on to jobs, though…the Dems easily could have proved that reducing spending by a large amount would have a negative impact on the economy. Bennet pointed out that jobs/economy had been absent from the debt conversation from the start.

      • dwyer says:

        24/7 on KOA, KHOW, and KLZ and 710am,( when you  can get it,) millions of people are told over and over again that the problem with unemployment is the debt created by Obama.  

        The fact that Bennet has been right on on the debt debate is not being broadcast to millions of people.  That is what I meant by reframing.

        Now, 24/7 millions of people are being indoctrinated with the myth that the reason the economy is so bad is that the debt ceiling resolution did not go far enough because the dems are in the White House and the Senate and the tribal drums of talk radio are already beating the drums for 2012.

        -GEt rid of Obama and the dems control of the Senate

        -Pass the Balanced Budget Amendment.

        where we dems are, right now is pondering:  If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it fall, does it make a sound?

        However, I appreciate your reply and I think it very good that Bennet held a town hall meeting.  It was great to get your blog from there.

  12. c rork says:

    do to medicare, medicaid, affordable care act?

    Cuts will be to providers, yet to be seen how the formation of super committee and how it will work. How will we spend less than 16% of our GDP on healthcare, and do it for better outcomes.

    Colorado hospitals, like Denver Health and others, doing a lot to reduce costs through innovation (lists examples).  

    • dwyer says:

      Providers will simply stop taking medicare recipients….anyone over 65 will find it increasingly difficult to find a doctor/hospital willing to medicare payments..

      Bennet’s young crowd and indeed Bennet may not know that it is already hard to find medical facilities/practices that will accept medicare.

  13. c rork says:

    Crazy lady starts yelling and says its all because of unions, says Bennet should be in Washington grandstanding to get it done.

    A: After a little heckling from crazy lady telling him to get back to Washington, says he is here to work, see his family, then go to Pakistan and Afghanistan. That hushes her up.

    Q: Is house responsible for this

    A: Boehner and moratorium

    Q: WOuld Democrats have cut spending without the Republicans forcing the issue? I don’t know of a single Republican that has said that we shouldn’t meet our obligations! (crowd chuckles)

    A: SOme Rs did, some that didn’t. Acknowledge that the debt ceiling has been used for political purposes but that this time we almost tripped the wire and downgraded the US’ credit rating. Coloradans have said that the deal must be bipartisan, don’t trust parties, want a balanced approach that addresses the problem materially, assures world market that our paper is worth what we say its worth.

  14. c rork says:

    I’m tired of people beating up on business! You’re proposing tax cuts for my corporation. You just added a 4% tax on corp through Obamacare. You’re penalizing my corporation, not pragmatic.

    A: I try really hard not to contribute to the rhetoric that you’re ascribing to. We have to balance what we want out of our govt with the revenue we need. I met with businesses for the first six months, developing very specific proposals that make the case for innovation. I will meet with you and keep the conversation going. Doesn’t make sense to have a code that doesn’t drive the economy. (Explains process of how tax code has affected job growth, how housing bubble held us up, etc.)

    12:10, meeting is done. Bennet gets big round of applause.

  15. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    No question or statement about jobs.

    Ps – good job live blogging it

  16. dwyer says:

    Really appreciated the blog coverage.

    I totally missed whatever notice there was about the meeting.

  17. BlueCat says:

    Instead of offensive as in explaining that the Bush tax structure isn’t creating jobs and that no combination of cuts and revenues  is going to get us out of this mess without massive job creation. Every pivot should have been to jobs jobs jobs, particularly the need for overdue desperately needed infrastructure projects.  Just more please don’t think I hate business garbage is all I’m hearing.

    In my crystal ball, I see nothing but the most conservative Dems representing Dem values they don’t share in the super congress and an eventual speech by Obama explaining why it’s really sad they couldn’t let the Bush tax breaks for the wealthiest sunset but, again, what could they do? Hostages being held, etc . blah, blah, blah. I’m sure the GOTP sees it too.  NO need to give an inch. Obama, Harry and friends will always cave.  

    Not much chance that the economy isn’t going to continue to strangle the middle class and that the wealth and power elite aren’t going to get even more separation from the rest of us. Oh and no chance our infrastructure isn’t going to continue down the tubes.  

    This is the most hopeless shape the Dems and the country and the  middle class has ever been in.  At least during the Great Depression we were on our way out of it. I don’t see any hope, between disastrous right wing policy and Dems who constantly demonstrate helplessness, that anything is going to get better for a very, very long time, if ever in the foreseeable future. Bennet’s answers certainly were not encouraging in any way.

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