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Marketplace interviews President Obama. What would you ask?

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One en route to Chicago earlier this week. Today he heads to Nevada on a two-day energy tour where host Kai Ryssdal will sit down with the President for an interview.

Today, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal is traveling to Boulder City, Nev., to interview President Barack Obama at the Copper Mountain solar plant. The facility, just outside of Las Vegas, is the nation’s largest, powering 17,000 homes with the use of nearly one million solar panels.

Copper Mountain is the first stop on a two-day energy tour by President Obama. After Boulder City, he’ll head to Roswell, N.M., where he will check out the nearby Maljamar oil fields.

This afternoon Kai will sit down with the president for 15 minutes to ask him about his administration’s “all of the above” energy policy, which advocates the use of both fossil fuels and renewable sources. Jobs, health care and housing are among the other topics to be discussed.

We also want to include a question from YOU. That's right, post a comment below, or find us on Facebook or Twitter, and let us know what you would ask the president. Stay tuned for programming updates and information on how you can tune in on your local public radio station and our website.


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1. Why don't you exercise your authority to issue United States Notes (pure fiat currency) instead of Treasuries (federal debt) to pay for any deficits?

2. Why can you not see that health insurance increases the price of medical care for those of us who refuse to participate in that scam?

3. Why have you not even considered my proposal to establish Municipal Medical Departments to provide medical care as a civic service, with each MMD staffed with federal civil service medical workers who are hired locally?

4. When can we have a judicial bank, The Third Bank of the United States, to adjudicate the financial contracts authorized by Congress?

5. When can we have federal certificates, diplomas and degrees granted for passing a qualifying set of federal course exams?

6. When can we have merit employment that is awarded to the local applicant with the highest passing score on the required course exams, certificates, diplomas and degrees for a given open position?

7. When will we replace the student loan program with scholarships, fellowships and endowment of chairs?

Is campaign finance reform important to you? If so, what will you do in the future to address it?

Mr. President
I had the privilege to meet briefly with you at the White House Conference on Conservation on March 2 in DC. Myself and others from multiple user groups have requested that you designate the BLM lands on the former Fort Ord in Monterey, California a National Monument. Specifically, Fort Ord Soldiers National Monument in honor of the 1.5 million soldiers that have passed through Fort Ord. Many leaders at the City, County, State and Federal levels have written in support of this designation. First of all, I would like to know if there is anything more that we, the local users, should be doing in order for you to use the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate the Natioanl Monument. Secondly, I would like to invite you out to tour the area to see the open space that we are trying to preserve for our future generations. Can we count on a visit in the near future?

Mr. President,

It is time to take the Army Corps of Engineers and start a nationally owned oil company. Out neighbor Mexico has Pendex and it funds 1/6 of their government. There is plenty of oil on our shores and plenty of debt to pay down with the funds. Also, it will force prices down on the world market. China is drilling in the Gulf for heavens sake.

I don't know why this is not being debated on the national political arena. We have a demographical glut of baby boomers heading for their highest medical cost with most of them financially unprepared, unrest in the middle east and a looming debt crisis in student loans. Oil is fundemental to our existence as Americans, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

There is enough waste in Amtrack and NJTransit to raise several caution flags about creating a chartered corporation for this purpose. It would be better to simply have an engineering branch of the Interior Department drill and operate the wells, have a similar branch of the Transportation Department build and operate the pipelines and have the Treasury Department create and operate the commodity markets to sell the oil to the states.

What is the incentive to go into science and engineering in the U.S.?

There has been downward pressure on wages from the real threat of outsourcing and workers on H1-b visas. Businesses do not have to be as careful in their hiring when they can get multiple people for the price of one and sort out the winners and losers later. From a global perspective or the perspective of a business owner, this is good. From the perspective of someone looking at a career in science in the U.S., this is not good. Moreover, this pits people in the workplace, and society, against each other. Instead of fostering an environment of healthy competition and collaboration, the focus turns to maintaining the position of the individual.

For those who want to develop something of their own, there is the threat of patent trolls who can sue in a friendly Texas court and stifle legitimate work. I have worked on enough patents to know that many of the things that get patent protection are nothing more than fluff. From the perspective of a large business, this may be good. From the perspective of an entrepreneur, this is very bad.

There is a vocal group of people who like to discredit people in the sciences. There are few, if any, people in the sciences that people recognize and look up to. Probably the best known engineer of the day is Dilbert.

Is there a way to strike some balance in the workplace and government so that science can be exciting again?

Q for the President: It seems that government programs consist of a set amounts of funds, to which states or cities can apply to qualify for, and then the money is allotted. I would like to see more resources put into measuring the effectiveness of the programs (so that it will make sense to continue to fund them), as well as how to improve on programs in the most cost effective way. There is also a communication gap between how to find what is needed and which agency can help the individual. I see this in Education as well as Health Care. What are the President's thoughts on measuring effectiveness of programs and initiatives?

Q for Pres: On the Keystone pipeline, why isn't there discussion around building new, high-tech, very low or zero emission refineries in the upper Midwest (Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, etc.) so that the sludge doesn't have to be piped all the way down to Texas and then shipped elsewhere. The refined product would be much closer to the Northeast, where using oil for home heating is apparently very prevalent. The additional refineries would create many more permanent jobs than building and maintaining a long pipeline.
Thanks.

President Obama -- what was your first concert experience?

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