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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates president; Mike Norman, BIZRADIO show host, Ephren Taylor , City Capital CEO.
Trading Pit: Would National Health Care Bankrupt America?
We're hearing a lot about national health care in the run-up to the 2008 election—especially from the Democrats. But can America afford it?
Scott: National health care would absolutely bankrupt this country! When the government does something, they do it at twice the cost and half the efficiency. If you think health care is expensive now, let the government to get involved. Medicare alone is going to bankrupt this country. National socialized health care will put this country under in ten years.
Mike: The cost of not having national health care is going to be enormous. We could potentially have millions of uninsured, sick people in our society. This would be tremendously chaotic. The government doesn't do every terrible. The government has done a fantastic job with our military, space program, and built the infrastructure of this country. The fact of the matter is universal health care is an investment, and we need it.
Gary B.: National health care wouldn't bankrupt the country, but like all government programs, it would be terribly expensive and inefficient. Health care would be much more efficient if the government would get out of the way and let the medical industry operate. The answer is not making more government because that has just not worked.
Ephren: A national health care program would absolutely not bankrupt us. We need increased accessibility to health care for working class families in America. Something has to be done. This needs to be looked at as an investment. However, most programs that are government run are poorly run like the Postal Service and Amtrak. This is why we must combine the efficiency of private companies with government accountability.
Tobin: The way the Democrats have presented national health care is absolutely insane. They talk about this program like it is a magic credit card with no bill. As long as they are going to use the "magic card" it will never work and it will bankrupt us.
Pat: Something needs to be done. As a society, we pay more for less health care than almost any other industrialized country. Some level of government involvement is necessary, but economic incentives don't always make sense here. You get the most societal benefit from preventative care; teaching people to take care of themselves. But you see the benefit from preventative care ten years down the road. It's pretty hard to get the economic incentives right, which is why some level of government involvement is necessary.
Hugo Chavez Plan to Undermine America?
Hugo Chavez at it again! Leading massive protests in South America to counter President Bush's goodwill trip. And don't forget the ads from the dictator's oil company, Citgo. Using poor people, in the cold, to praise Venezuela for cheap home heating oil. Is all this a part of a strategy to undermine America?
Gary B.: Chavez is on record as despising the United States and President Bush. Chavez is a friend of Iran. If he's not a terrorist now, it certainly sounds like he's a terrorist in the making. Citgo's profits are going to fund his operations. I think what he's doing is no different than if al Qaeda were selling oil here for low prices. But then, people would refuse to pay it. I think they should do the same with Citgo.
Scott: It's a free country. You can do this as long as you have people on your side, like how Chavez teamed up with Joe Kennedy. Chavez is doing his best to show us up. We are the richest country in the world. Poor people have the opportunity to get help on the local and federal level for cheap heating oil. This is a pure public relations campaign, plain and simple.
Tobin: Chavez is being a little shrewd here, but he may have fallen on the sword. He has scared so much investment capital out of Venezuela that production is low. The reason why they're shipping us this oil is because it's heavy oil. It can't be used for anything other than heating oil.
Mike: He's not fooling anybody. If he wants to lose money on every barrel of oil by giving it to poor people, then that's great for poor people in this country. People see Chavez for what he is. He's a buffoon.
Ephren: This is one of the biggest hustles of all time. We know what Chavez is doing. We know what he's up to. I refuse to be held hostage by foreign oil producers.
Pat: Chavez is a populist pure and simple. That's how he stays in power. Calling him a terrorist is going a little too far. He's a populist whose economic policies aren't doing his country any favors. He probably won't be around once oil prices come back down.