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Obama praises Mountain View while greeting mayor

President's town hall meeting at LinkedIn draws a range of queries on economy

Before president Obama's town hall meeting in Mountain View on Monday, Mayor Jac Siegel said Obama had some flattering words about this small city of 76,000 upon his arrival at Moffett Field on Sunday evening.

"I know a lot about your city," Siegel recalled Obama saying during their meet and greet. "It's one of the few cities in the country that has escalating real estate and is creating jobs. You have a really great city, keep up the great work."

Siegel said he was very pleased by the remarks. "It doesn't get much better," he said.

In Mountain View on Monday morning, President Obama aimed to convince viewers of his town hall meeting hosted by LinkedIn that he can lead the country through its myriad economic problems. A crowd of several hundred was assembled by LinkedIn at the Computer History Museum near Google, including LinkedIn users who had been flown in from around the country.

The evening before, Obama had attended two fundraisers on Sunday evening, one at the Woodside home of Symantec chairman John Thompson and another at Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg's Atherton home.

Obama's message focused on the benefits of investing in infrastructure and schools to create jobs with the American Jobs Act. He made a case for increasing taxes on wealthier individuals to maintain the public institutions that have made the country great.

"If we don't improve our education system, we will all fall behind," Obama said. In math and science, "we are slipping behind other developing countries."

"Are you going to have enough engineers?" in Silicon Valley, he asked.

'Raise my taxes'

The tax reform issue is also an issue of fairness, the president said.

"Somebody who is making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff," Obama said, referring to Jeff Weiner, the CEO of LinkedIn who moderated the event.

Obama's been accused of engaging in "class warfare" with his proposals to tax the rich, but during Monday's talk he stressed a pro-businesses stance.

"No part of the country better represents the essence of America than here," Obama said of Silicon Valley. "What your see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, an optimism, a belief that if you've got a good idea and you're willing to put in the sweat and blood and tears to make it happen, that not only can you succeed for yourself, but grow the economy for everybody."

Some audience members who asked questions were unemployed because of unfortunate circumstances but one said he was unemployed by choice, able to retire early after having been an early employee of a successful startup search engine "down the street."

"Would you please raise my taxes?" said the man, who was later identified as former Google brand manager Doug Edwards. "I would very much like the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get where I am. It kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts" on wealthy Americans.

"As you just pointed out, we're successful because somebody invested in our education," Obama said. He referred to his wife Michelle, whose father was an engineer at a local water company who had never attended college, but was able to send Michelle to Princeton.

Jobs bill

"The most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill," Obama said, adding that it would increase gross domestic product by 2 percent and add 1.9 million jobs in the U.S. in teaching, construction and public safety, creating "ripple effects" in the economy. There are up to 27 million unemployed in the U.S. if the marginally employed and long-term unemployed are included.

Throughout the talk, Obama referred to an audience member's recently unemployed 65-year-old mother, a food service worker in Ohio.

"She wants to know, when can she get a job, and what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare?" the woman asked.

"You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her, guaranteed," Obama said. "There are no proposals out there that would affect folks about to get Social Security and Medicare." He said that reforms would be necessary to pay for both programs in the future and proposed removing the $100,000 cap on taxable income that limits what wealthier individuals pay into Social Security. He said that would contribute significantly to keeping the program afloat as fewer workers are paying in to keep more seniors out of poverty.

"Your mom is going to be more likely to be hired" under the American Jobs Act, Obama said. The resulting increase in employment would mean more customers for other businesses, including the food industry. And when explaining why wealthy Americans should have higher tax rates, he said, "If people like myself aren't paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom, who end up paying a lot more for Medicare and they can't afford it."

Veterans and small businesses

A question submitted through LinkedIn's website from Marla Hughes, a Florida business owner, asked what Obama would do about "onerous" regulations and taxes, which are the "worst enemies" of a small business.

"We've actually cut taxes on small businesses 16 times since I went into office," Obama said, adding that there are "tax breaks for hiring, tax breaks for investment in capital and no capital gains taxes on start-ups."

He said that while some regulations of businesses may no longer be necessary, he would not compromise on safety and environmental regulations, or on regulations to prevent another financial crisis. Regulations should make sure "your water is clean, your food is safe to eat and the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated," he said.

Part of Obama's jobs bill would help military veterans obtain jobs.

He spoke about meeting a former Army medic who worked "under the most extreme circumstances" with wounded soldiers in Iraq. But "when he went back to nursing school, had to start as if he had never been involved in medicine at all. He had to take all the same classes and take the same debt burdens from taking those classes."

Obama proposed policies that would allow such veterans to use their skills from the military "right away" in new jobs. "Let's give them a certification, let's give them a credential that helps them do that," he said.

More fundraisers

Obama departed from Moffett Field aboard Air Force One at 12:23 p.m., and headed to Southern California for fundraising appearances later today. The president was set to speak at three campaign events -- one in San Diego and two in Los Angeles.

Before boarding the plane, Obama stopped to greet the family of a retiring Air Force One crew member and pose for a photo. He shook the hands of the crew member, his wife and three children.

Afterward, the wife, who declined to give her full name but said her husband is based out of Fresno, said she was nervous to meet the president.

"He's a very nice man," she said. "Very proud of him as our president, and I told him that."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by seriously?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Come on now, Voice! You were certainly not the first 'to press' with the story of Obama's stump speech. The least you can do is be honest in your reporting and not just report the party platform. Didn't give his name? His name is Doug Edwards, and any cursory examination of today's news would have revealed that. So, yes, you are correct, he did not give his name, but why stop there with such a great story? Oh yeah, because he was invited by a friend with links to the Democratic Party. He also has an impressive history of donations to the Democratic Party... at least $72,000 over the past 10 years to Democrats. How honorable of him to ask the President to raise his taxes when Obama is talking about income taxes (Given he is comparing "effective tax rates" when talking about a teacher making $50k). I wonder if he is as willing to ask Obama to tax his wealth at a high rate rather than his income (probably a lot lower than it used to be since he's retired!). You out there Doug? Such blind pandering for a political candidate in a "news" story takes away from any good ideas Obama may have had in the speech. Pathetic.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No stock option Worker
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

We had 8 years of the gun slinger. At least he had no pretentions about himself.
Tired of all that, we hoped to elect a leader , but instead we got a down and dirty politician trying to hide being his rehetoric and his political shananigans. I voted for this guy and I am sorry I did.

He needs to get of his high horse and stop his pontification.

If I were a lucky shmuck who made out in the bubble, I too would be a philantrope, but to use such cheap political theater is insulting the intelligence of the Valley crowd.

Any one keeping tab on this presidents travel budget. Airforce One is not a political campaign bus. So much for change. Yeah I asked for change but the only thing this guy is going to leave me is the Change in my pocket.

Thanks a lot


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm

To No stock option Worker, I understand your feelings.

LinkedIn is for the elite professionals, the upper 10-15% of our national workforce. It is for those whose success depend on his/her connections rather than his/her commitment to the employer.

I don't think a plumber, a mechanic, an elementary school teacher or even a Boeing engineer would have much use of LinkedIn.

For Obama it fits his pompous elitism attitude to use LinkedIn as a backdrop to promote his so-called job plan. It's good business for LinkedIn. But very bad for those who will subsequently waste hours on this web site.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2011 at 5:44 am

It's the Voice. What do you expect? Obama wooing Facebook and LinkedIn CEOs should tell you that this trip was more about getting himself re-branded and re-elected. He's hopeless on the economy and jobs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Take it easy boys, he's gone now, so you can sit back and crack open a cold one on your couch there.

@James: are you telling unemployed teachers and engineers that they shouldn't bother using a free networking service like LinkeIn to help their job search? Wow. I think you missed the point of the "backdrop".

Take care.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jupiterk
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm

We have gone from 8 years of really really bad presidency to 4 more years of the same old BS.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2011 at 7:09 pm

MV Resident, most folks will be disappointed if they try to find jobs on LinkedIn.

Yes, it is a good site for some kind of jobs, such as those evolve around IT, law, marketing, etc. But for many other jobs, the site is not useful.

LinkedIn connections are not real personal connections. I'd venture to say that good friends on one's Facebook will give one much more real help in locating a real job.

What LinkedIn is good at, is for employers and recruiters to spy on people and companies.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

OMG.... count the above comments.... Mr. Pres. did little to say anything new. His left wing B.S. continues.. How many of the above comments are "good news" for our President.. NO,,, we (America ) is slowly awakening to the Socialist Big Govt. agenda... Our computer big firms have to suck up to him.. just to keep from being shut down.. That is so sad.
The "set up" questions from a big time contributor show just how damn corrupt this adminstration is..

It is all so freken sad.

I love America, and I won't stand by to watch her sink.

George.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm

The problem of this country is the increasing contrast of capital inefficiency vs. developing countries such as China.

Both the left and right contributed handsomely over the years to this enormous inefficiency. On the left, mainly the rigid cost structures of unionized labor and overly restrictive regulations. On the right, mainly the manipulation of overly complex financial instruments and the overt control of media.

Historically, war is the way out of capital inefficiency. World War II ended the Great Depression, for example. This is because a war tends to resolve fundamental issues quickly and decisively in a rather short time frame. George Bush knows this. But he failed. War no longer works as a solution to economical problems.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Jerry Brown said last week that each year, as the governor, he needs to decide whether to sign or veto over 1000 bills passed by the state legislatures.

I was flabbergasted by this number. 1000+ bills each year? What the hell are they for? And it's the number of bills *passed*! If this is not over regulation, I don't know what is.

Initially I thought the number is a typo, maybe it should be 100? But lord-and-behold, it is true. The list is here:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Further comparison shows that, for the current season (or session), which is not finished yet, the California legislature created over 1500 bills, while their counter part, the Texas legislature, created around 130 bills.

1500 bills vs 130 bills, do I need to say more?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 10:26 am

James, thanks for the links and your comments.

The New York Times has a good article which shows why so many across the globe are fed up with the tired old arguments supporting government from both left and right. The tired old formulas just don't seem to work any more. We need to get back to government serving the people and not special interests. Those who think it only occurs on the right are just in denial.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 10:36 am

Dear James:

A couple of comments:

1. George Bush's has/had no sense of history, which ultimately led him to an ill-advised, unnecessary land war in the Middle East. Combined with a pair of historically unprecedented war-time tax cuts, the Iraq war (which led to a record peak of $145/barrel crude oil prices) directly led to the Great Recession of 2008.

2. The unemployed need to be pro-active, and think positively in their efforts to find a job. LinkedIn provides a customizable search engine, and an efficient means to communicate with prospective employers. Your comments regarding LinkedIn are ill- informed, and frankly, not helpful.

3. Comparing California to Texas on this Voice Townsquare Forum is off-topic and rather silly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Dear MV Resident,

1. Don't underestimate Bush's intelligence. Yes he failed, miserably. But it was an honorable failure.

2. As I said earlier, LinkedIn is for certain types of elite professionals. Regular folks do not have much use of LinkedIn. One who was laid off as a process engineer after 20 years with a company has no better chance of finding a job via LinkedIn than other real connections.

3. Yes that was off the topic. But it is relevant in that our government is indeed micro-managing. Jobs are lost because of this kind of intimidation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dee
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I love my country; but I fear my government.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm

James,

1. oh please...

2. regardless of what you said earlier, I typed in "process engineer" on LinkedIn jobs page, and got 3,205 hits.

Web Link

3. thanks for agreeing.

Cheers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I'd like to take exception to the "honorable failure" mentioned above:

Honorable would not have included the "Mission Accomplished" flight suit moment.

Honorable would have included a plan and enough resources to defend the considerable convention weaponry in country from falling into insurgent hands immediately after the collapse of the regime.

One could also make the case that "honorable" would have included a more frank assessment of the intelligence available, instead of the apparent wild goose chase we got.

As to intelligence, It is hard to quibble amongst all these Yale, Columbia, and Harvard degrees shared by our two most recent Presidents. I certainly won't deny anyone's policy disagreements with either President, but personally my political money is on the Professor, and not on the businessman who was saved by, as they say in Texas, "his daddy's buddies".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bruno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 5:14 pm

@ James

"honorable failure" !?!?

You just wiped out any sense of reason you may have been trying to convey. People who voted for Bush should have been ashamed of their choice as soon as Katrina hit. And I won't forget that 9/11 happened on his watch no matter how much revisionists try to redirect blame.

The part of this article that I like (that nobody else has mentioned), is that the President gave Mountain View some very nice compliments.

Save the liberal hating rants for SFGate.com Honorable failure...give us a break!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Bruno:

Katrina was due to nature. The Gulf Oil Spill was due to Obama's lack of initiative to deal with the problem when it first broke. The response to both was the result of our broken form of government that spends more than it delivers.

The public is so quick to forget about the first attack on the twin towers that occurred in 1993 on Clinton's watch. The intent then, as in 2001, was to bring the towers down. 911 was largely due to the Clinton administration not dealing with the OBL threat early on. Al Qaeda spent the eight years in between getting it right.

Study your history. It might help.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bruno
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

@ Observer

Your right wing talking points don't work on me. Katrina was a disaster well beyond he forces of nature. I'm not going to explain that further. And to tell me to study history.

9/11 will be remembered as George Bush's biggest moment in his presidency. When George Bush was asked about his toughest moment of his presidency, he said it was when Kanye West dissed him. That and he had zero regrets. Thats your honorable Bush.

Enough said.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Well then I'll explain it further if you won't. Katrina was a result of poor maintenance of the levees and neglect by state and federal governments on both sides of the aisle for years. And then nature took over.

Bush being in place on 911 and your assertion that it was the biggest moment of his presidency has nothing to do with the background and real source and cause of 911 as I indicate above.

Studying history is just too tough I guess.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Bruno, don't take my words out of context.

My "honorable failure" refers to using the wars in Afgan and Iraq as means to resolve fundamental capital efficiency issues. Nothing about Katrina and other stuff.

There are so many conspiracy theories and I don't need to repeat them here. But the key point is Bush chose to take a risky bet, legitimized by the window of world wide goodwill at that time, in order to alter the strategic allocations of world resources and capital for the next 100 years, for the benefit of this country.

He failed. But it was not an arbitrary and reckless decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by seriously?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 28, 2011 at 9:49 pm

all the back-and-forth is annoying. anyone got any ideas to address our current and future problems commensurate with the scale of our problems? No matter your stance on what defines "fair share" for the wealthy, the fact is the unfunded future obligations of medicare and social security dwarf the income of the 'wealthy.' Even those within the GOP that are criticized as draconian for their approach to reel in government deficit spending (e.g. Rep. Ryan, R-WIS), are not even touching the proper order of magnitude compared to unfunded liabilities. The same applies to climate change... even the so-called "environmental extremists" proposals to reduce CO2 emissions have a negligible impact on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and thus the predicted warming. Politics are so damned divided in this country that if a foreign nation invaded with tanks we'd be arguing over which president's fault it was that they invaded and how loudly we should tell them to go away!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 29, 2011 at 2:58 am

I think the real lesson here is that the American people shouldn't be waiting around for the government to rescue them from anything. Down through history, it has usually been the opposite; the people save the governments (i.e., through fighting wars and making sacrifices through payments such as tithes and taxes) until a point where the government becomes so broken that they are forced to change or collapse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by mimi
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

the Chinese are playing chess while the U.S. and the rest of the world is playing checkers -
dumb dumb dummies

and i would add that the Chinese don't even need to be pros or experienced, even amateur chess players can play...




 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2011 at 11:30 am

The government is just another economic entity. Let's say the government has an average capital efficiency of X%, and private sector has capital efficiency of Y%, then most of the time Y > X. However there are times of extreme chaos when Y becomes so low that X > Y. Not that X is getting better, just Y got a lot worse.

President Obama is saying: look, Y is very low now, so let's re-allocate more capital to public sector to get better GDP output, because now X > Y.

Republicans are saying: look, the solution is to make Y > X again, not to re-allocate more capital for X, because doing that will keep Y low for a long long time.

Who is right? ...



 +   Like this comment
Posted by GoldStarMom
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Wow, there sure are a bunch of haters online here today.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JPlatt
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm

What makes me sad about BHO's jobs rhetoric is that there's no attempt to stop or slow down the exporting of jobs. And there's nothing about slowing down the importing of workers. We've a huge jobs-worker imbalance. Do we attack it's causes? No, we "stimulate the economy". The rest of the country tries to create jobs faster than Washington exports them. It's a race we the people are loosing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Justin
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

Osama Bin Laden attacked the United States at least 5 times (1993 WTC, 1996 Khabor Towers, 1998 US Embassy attacks in Tanzania and Kenya, 2000 USS Cole, 2001 WTC).

The first 4 attacks occured under the Clinton Administration.

Clinton did nothing about it.

Since Clinton did nothing, it helped Al Qaeda's recruiting and fundraising immensely. They got braver and bolder with each attack and they all grew grander in scale.

After 9/11, Bush took action.

Since 9/11, no more successful attacks by Al Qaeda even though attacking us is their primary goal. There have been several large attacks thwarted. They have been successful attacking the UK and Spain during this time but not us and it is due to the actions that Bush took.

THESE ARE FACTS.

There might be several valid reasons to dislike George Bush but suggesting that 9/11 was in any way his fault is absolutely ludicrous. He saved all of our asses and we all owe him a thank you for that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 30, 2011 at 6:53 am

You're right Justin, but the liberal Bush haters want to believe that Muslim radical began hating the US only once Bush was elected. What's ironic is that Muslim radicals hate liberals and liberalism exponentially more than any single President. The detest the liberal lifestyle, particularly women's right to do just about anything from drive a car to vote.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LinkedIn4all
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 30, 2011 at 8:00 am

I don't agree that LinkedIn is just for the elite. Have you ever used it? I would say it is more suited for the digital generation who are use to documenting their life online. It can be very useful for keeping up with colleagues who move on to new jobs in case you need to contact them for a reference or a job referral one day. LinkedIn started out with an elite group but as it's popularity grows, more and more people are trying it out and sending invitations to their co-workers, friends, bosses.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

I have used LinkedIn. If you say it is a tool to document one's career, and a rolodex of connections, I'd agree. But is it a good tool to find jobs? For some, yes. But for the majority of the labor force, no.

I object Obama using LinkedIn as a backdrop to promote jobs. It is modern day's version of Marie Antoinette saying "Why don't they eat cake?"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thom
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm

It is first and foremost important to vote O out of office. Next we need someone strong enough to take a stance on criminals (illegals) in this country that O has told he will turn a blind eye towards. Our economy suffers because the government is breaking the law. Think about the abuse and assistance the governmment offers them. Forget that they are taking jobs because the bigger problem is cities like MV catering to them. Think about how much money we lose by them sending money of out the country. Think about the free medical assistance they get. Think of the 14 yr old criminals getting pregnant to take advatnage of the anchor baby loop hole. Think about the fact most are not interested in our culture and refuse to learn the language or laws. Think of them here using stolen or forged documents. Think of them crashing into your car but 1. no speak english 2. no insurance. Think about the americans that are desparate for jobs and cannot work fast food because americans don't speak spanish therefore causing a language barrier. (it happened to me). Think about how many gangs live and prosper in our city and causing harm.

And I expect this post to be deleted because I spoke against the almighty O that lives in DC pandering to children and illegals that he counts on for votes. I have a right to free speech and this is my opinions and thoughts.

Your president is breaking the law and your city supports him in. Don't be afraid to speak out against him and his cronies when you hit the voting booth. Take a stand for our country and our own people (citizens)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Thom -

I couldn't have said it better myself. Enough is enough. We have to vote Obummer out of office before our country becomes unrecognizable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I have to laugh when I see the picture of Obama meeting the Mayor of Mountain View--two guys who have never had a job that wasn't supported by the taxpayers. A couple of activists that get money from the government to get the government even more entrenched in our lives while they tax us to death since they no so much better. Don't believe me? Google the background of these guys. They don't know a thing about creating private sector jobs. We are doomed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James Hoosac
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Given the current crop of Republican candidates, I think it is likely that President Obama will be re-elected.

I think the one Republican who can win 2012 is Bill Frist. But he is not running.


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