Corker discusses debt with town hall attendees

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 12:34am
By Steven Hale

Sen. Bob Corker’s America’s Debt Town Hall presentation on the growing national debt was well received Thursday night at host Belmont University — that is, until audience members were given the microphone.

The featured speaker at the event, held at BU’s Massey Performing Arts Center and broadcast by SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Corker said he is “worried that most Americans don’t understand the depth of the problem.” He spent approximately 30 minutes using charts and statistics to show the audience what he acknowledged most in the room already know: the U.S. government spends more than it collects and, thus, the national debt is growing.

“If you spent a day with me in Washington and saw how Washington spends your money,” Corker said, “you’d be embarrassed.”

The Tennessee senator referenced his previously announced plan to propose a nine-page bill — so brief by D.C. standards that its mention was met with laughter from the audience and the senator alike — that would cap government spending at, ideally, 18 percent of gross domestic product based on current revenue numbers.

While receptive audience applause interrupted the presentation multiple times, the tone shifted once the microphone changed hands.

A particularly heated moment came when one man asked if members of Congress, including Corker, would return the raises they most recently approved for themselves. Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, responded by noting he gives his congressional salary to a variety of charities.

Many audience members said they feel drastic steps are needed to address the economy and that Corker’s approach is insufficient. Some questioned the likelihood of a debt-free state under the current currency model, while others called for a full audit of the federal government.

Taking issue with talk of compromise by some on Capitol Hill, one woman in the audience elicited what may have been the most emotional response from the crowd all night, offering Corker “advice.”

“You may raise your hand across the aisle and the other side may shake it,” the woman said. “They may slap it. They may ignore it. But we at the ballot box will amputate it.” 

20 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 11/12/10 at 4:25

Sounds like this was a very conservative audience over
at Belmont, especially the last questioner mentioned!
Especially for a college audience anywhere, maybe the
younger folks are getting the picture!

By: HokeyPokey on 11/12/10 at 6:13

I seriously doubt there were very many college students in the audience.

Mostly I would expect to find the kind of folks who believe they can get away with saying anything they wish, no matter how argumentative or loathsome. After all, their heroes get away with it on the radio all the time, so why can't they?

By: Readabook on 11/12/10 at 6:26

Why is it that people are only concerned about the debt when it doesn't involve them, when they get money it is okay. This is the problem, the Replublicans are lying, the debt is not the biggest problem, how do you get rid of the debt pay taxes, how do you pay taxes have a job. Debt will be reduce because more is coming into the system. Recent history... Raised Taxes cut spending surplus Democrat..... Cut Taxes Raise Spending large debt Republican, then blame the person who followed you once again Republican. Now we believe it will be different this time when Republicans talks. Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice shame on me, only time will tell.

By: cashnthings on 11/12/10 at 6:28

Audit the FED if you want to slove most of the problem Corker not the striped down Frank-Dodd crap in the so called financial reform bill. As long as Central Banks can print money that we have to pay back with interest our debt will never go away. Most of the debt is the interest owed to these crooks and what is there solution to fix it? QE2 buy more tresurys and create more debt man that is gonna fix things. He will figure it out or get voted out........ End the FED........

By: AmyLiorate on 11/12/10 at 8:17

I think Bob has the message. He even said some of the things that Readabook said. But the big thing he left out last night was HOW he is going to get the other senators to go along with fixing all of this. Not to mention the mass of representatives.

Corker said, in his most studied frame of mine, that we only have about 3 years to turn this thing around.

Readabook, that means that when he is up for re-election the debt should be addressed already. If it isn't then yes - throw the bum out!!!

By: AmyLiorate on 11/12/10 at 8:49

Gov, the college kids are getting the picture. Not enough of them, but a few of them are paying attention. The audience last night was mixed.

I think one of the best people who took the mic was an Iraqi man. He said he was tired of having his relatives killed and injured - in his words "Get out now".

Corker talked a lot but when you look at his record he personally voted to raise the national debt. He voted for the bailout.

Even in his own words, he gives his salary to charity. But if he really wanted to do what is right then he would simply not cash the paycheck!

It's a drop in the barrel, but all in all it would be the right thing to do.

By: GaryP on 11/12/10 at 9:06

The embarrassment is that Corker has sided on too many issues with President Obama on spending. Not directly but by voting to approve many of the appointments of Obama including those who failed to pay taxes, Geithner. Corker's comment in a form letter response, "we need to allow the President wide latitude in his appointments." We need people that owe taxes to pay them so that we will lessen the burden. We need people in Congress who are responsible and stand for what is right, Corker did not when he had the chance, he needs to be voted out when his turn at re-election comes up.

By: pswindle on 11/12/10 at 10:01

Corker was there with Bush 100% of the time. How do you overcome the mess that Bush created? If we could get back 1/2 of the money that Cheney's old oil company stole from us it might solve part of the problem, and there is Blackwater with all of their millions from the federal government. There is a lot out there that needs to be addressed. Corker tries to blame President obama. Corker you can't make it go that far regardless of how you try to spend it.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/12/10 at 10:15

Youre right on all that GaryP.

Bob Corker works for the banking industry. They were his largest donors and he licks their boot on command.

The Financial and Realestate people donated $2.7M to him. That is well over 10% of his donations.

Swindle, stop blaming everything on Bush. That's simply not true and it's a tired argument. Spending comes from Congress, not the Whitehouse. 25% of the time Bush was in office the Dems were in charge of spending.

Both parties are part of the problem, and if there's a solution it will require both parties to fix it.

By: pswindle on 11/12/10 at 11:03

Why are we in this mess? One Person: Bush (He lied about everything) You can't sugar coat his actions. Have you been listening to his interviews in trying to sell his book. Enough said.

By: james effinger on 11/12/10 at 11:14

I find it amazing. Congress finlley gets the message and now they want us to believe we are the ones that do not understand how out of control congressional spending is. Taking the problem to the voters will enable the politicians to claim they are following the will of the people. The problem is the people will not know if they are speaking the truth or simpley hiding behind unprovable surveys.

By: AmyLiorate on 11/12/10 at 11:27

Swindle, I am no fan of Bush. We can agree that he was one of the worst presidents by many many measurements.

However, our dislike for Bush still doesn't make him responsible for the budget that comes from the house.

Stop blaming ONE party. As long as we think it's the other party nothing really will change. It's like to children saying "he hit me first". We all need to get beyond the party lines and focus on DC as a whole.

George Washington told us that following party groups would cause problems. It's nothing new and doesn't take a political science degree to figure out.

By: james effinger on 11/12/10 at 11:30

Three months ago we were told that the new healthcare/medicare plan would not be a financial problem for the taxpayers, now its part of a financial fire storm. I will be willing to accept any health and benifit plan that the federal government workers have.

By: james effinger on 11/12/10 at 11:30

Three months ago we were told that the new healthcare/medicare plan would not be a financial problem for the taxpayers, now its part of a financial fire storm. I will be willing to accept any health and benifit plan that the federal government workers have.

By: HokeyPokey on 11/12/10 at 12:35

"Everybody" knows that government spending is out of control, and that is the reason that the budget deficit is soaring out of control. "Everybody" should not be taken seriously.

Yesterday, the Budget Deficit for October -- the first month of the 2011 fiscal year -- was released. It showed a deficit of $140.43 billion, down $35.93 billion or 20.73% from October of last year. That comes on top of a deficit that fell for all of fiscal year 2010 by $121.6 billion from fiscal year 2009 (see Budget Deficit Falling, Not Rising).

The budget numbers are extremely seasonal, and are not seasonally adjusted, so looking at month to month changes is not really relevant. It is the year-over-year numbers that you have to look at.

So how did we manage to see the deficit fall? Through a combination of increased revenues and lower spending.

The Big News That No One Has Heard

Government revenues rose by $10.66 billion to $145.95 billion (7.88%) and spending fell by $25.27 billion to $286.38 billion (8.11%).


By: zwrm1 on 11/12/10 at 2:47

The only fact I need to know about Bob is that he voted for TARP.

By: richgoose on 11/12/10 at 3:20

zwrm1.......I agree with you about Corker voting for TARP. I think this probably saved this country from an all out undisputed DEPRESSION.

By: HokeyPokey on 11/12/10 at 3:21

The Troubled Asset Relief Program, commonly referred to as TARP, is a program of the United States government to purchase assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen its financial sector which was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on October 3, 2008. It is the largest component of the government's measures in 2008 to address the subprime mortgage crisis.

Originally expected to cost the U.S. Government $356 billion, the most recent final net estimate of the cost, as of October 5, 2010, will be close to $30 billion, including expected returns from interest in AIG. This is significantly less than the taxpayers' cost of the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s.

Did you know that, zwrm?

By: zwrm1 on 11/13/10 at 7:07

It doesn't matter whether it's 1$ or 1 trillion, its not the government's job to prop up failing private businesses.

By: MJB on 11/14/10 at 3:50

The question is: What will Congress cut? Almost our entire federal budget is already spoken for: Medicare, Medicaid, the Pentagon, Veterans, and Bush-Dick's stupid wars.

Shall we cut Homeland Security? hardly. Shall we cut patrol of our southern border? hardly. Shall we cut inspections of food or drugs? I'd rather not. Shall we cut safety inspections of, say, automobile brakes, of airplanes, of children's toys? hardly.

Yes, the debt is too big, but the problem is that Big corporations and millionaires like Corker, McCain, Obama, Buffett, Gates, & al., along with the semi-millionaires have been living scot-free for a decade. We cut taxes for the wealthy in the 1980s: the debt quadrupled. We cut taxes for the wealthy in the 2000s: the debt doubled.

Continuing to cut taxes for the wealthy leads to huger debts.