President Barack Obama arrived in Reno Thursday to speak at the ElectraTherm, Inc., renewable energy company to hold a 'Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity' town hall. He addressed some tough issues and fielded hard questions.
The President talked about gas prices, Medicare and how Nevada as a state needs to make some tough choices.
"I just hope that the choices are not short-sided," says Obama. He said Nevada has to prioritize.
One thing he says that Americans need to change is our reliance on private insurance. Obama says the practice of 'if the insurance you buy isn't good enough to cover you, too bad,' is wrong and it doesn't have to be that way.
"If health inflation keeps going up, you are out of luck. We will work with providers to make sure the healthcare system as a whole is more efficient."
Another hot topic up for discussion was the ongoing argument on tax cuts. Obama says we need to spread the wealth and strengthen the middle class.
"We need to end some of the tax cuts we issue for the wealthiest Americans. Not because I want to punish success. I am rooting for everybody to get rich."
He also asked Americans to step up and make your concerns and opinions be heard and to hold lawmakers accountable, including him.
"I don't want you to be bystanders in this debate. I want you to hold me accountable, I want you to hold Washington accountable. This is how we can secure our future and how we can make this country how it should be."
The location of Thursday's town hall, ElectraTherm, Inc. is a small renewable energy company headquartered in Reno. ElectraTherm's product, the Green Machine, generates fuel-free, emission free power from low to mid temperature waste heat using the Organic Rankine Cycle and patented technology. So it was not surprising that President Obama touched up on green energy and electric car production as a means to reduce gas prices and invest in America's future.
"One of the key ways we are going to get gas prices to go down is to rely less on oil," says Obama. He says his administration wants a million electric cars on the road over the next several years and make them affordable for everybody. But we are not there yet.
Last Wednesday, President Obama laid out his plan to put our nation on a more responsible fiscal trajectory while continuing to make the smart investments needed to create jobs and grow our economy.
"We must work together, begin to live within our means, and make shared sacrifices in order to rein in the deficit and meet the tough challenges of the future."
Obama says the debate is not whether we cut the deficit, the debate is how we cut the deficit. One way that is not acceptable to cut the national debt is on the back of students.
"I think it would be a mistake to balance the budget on the back of students. We need to cut spending, we can't ignore future deficits, failing to invest in our kids is mortgaging our future as well."
Obama jokingly addressed the nationally publicized party division in his administration. Among snickers in the audience, he says he has not lost hope but the hard work is ahead of them.
"I think Democrats and Republicans can come together. It won't be easy. There will be some strong disagreements. Politics will be played and some will say the country is too divided but I am hopeful."