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Bulls & Bears
This past week, Cheryl Casone was in for Brenda Buttner. Cheryl was joined by: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research; Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com, and Nancy Skinner, radio talk show host.
Time for Government to Let Private Sector Fix Job Market?
Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital: The private sector is in the business to make money; to do that they need to optimize resources. That means hiring people and going after opportunity. The government is basically dictating where money will go for large patches of the economy, and that's inefficient.
Nancy Skinner, radio talk show host: This is like blaming a surgeon that gives you a successful bypass or the person who throws you a life preserver when you're drowning. The economy's free-fall was stopped because of the government. Consumer spending wasn't happening and government spending replaced it. Without it, the economy would have been completely upside down.
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: If you actually believe the job report released Friday, which is difficult to do, the only real jobs created were those by the start of new businesses. Absolutely let the free market work, because without it, we would have had 220,000 fewer jobs created. There is a difference between short term government action and creating an entirely new entitlement system. At this point, it looks like the government is doing the later.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: It's not that the stimulus has created everything and the rest of the economy is in free-fall, but the important thing is twofold. There have been estimates by a panel of Wall Street Journal economists that say about a million jobs have been saved by the stimulus. On the psychological side, this large injection of money into the economy gave a lot of businesses newfound confidence to ramp up their investment and spending plans.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: There's probably going to be a massive revision to this initial 345,000 jobs lost number. Barack Obama may say he created a million jobs. But how do you create a million jobs with the unemployment rate going to 9.4 percent? It's the highest rate in 26 years. Wages also ticked down despite all the transfer payments supposedly from the government to the people. Don't buy into this, let the private sector work.
Rushing Stimulus Brings Waste; So Why Rush National Health Care?
Eric Bolling: If TARP and the stimulus were any indication, rushing national health care would be a huge mistake. When you get it out there, how are we going to pay for it? We can tax more, implement things like cap and trade, but then the consumer will get hit with much higher prices on products across the board. We've got to take our time.
Gary B. Smith: It's not just the fact that the government rushed TARP and the stimulus. Even when the government does something right, it still looses huge amounts of money. Look at the defense industry, Amtrak, the postal service. I can't understand how anyone would expect healthcare reform to be executed well.
Nancy Skinner: The idea that we're rushing something that we've been working on for 25 years is ridiculous. Millions have lost their health insurance. The healthcare sector is one-fifth of the total U.S. economy. The long-term deficit problem people constantly bemoan can't be fixed unless we get health care reformed due to its soaring costs. Healthcare reform will fix the long-term deficit problem.
Tobin Smith: Medicare right now costs us about $600 billion a year, but in reality costs us closer to about $1.5 trillion. There are just a large number of things we don't account for in its cost. If you suddenly add coverage to 40 million people, the pure math of it will absolutely bankrupt us. It's the opposite of what the Democrats are arguing.
Pat Dorsey: The issue of covering the uninsured is that if they're covered, they wind up going to the ER and costing far more to get care when they need it. The larger issue is that we spend more per capita than any other country on the planet and we have worse outcomes in just about every single statistic imaginable. The system is broke and needs to be fixed.
D.C. Gas Tax Plan: Is $4/Gallon Coming Soon?
Eric Bolling: If the government wants to fund a $450 billion transportation bill, the fairest thing to do is implement a gasoline tax. This way, people who use the system pay for it. The government has to find a way to pay for it, and the easiest, most fair way is to increase the gas tax.
Nancy Skinner: In the midst of a recession, we can't put the pinch on millions of Americans with more taxes. Why don't we tax the oil companies who profit from the roads? They're the ones making billions of dollars.
Tobin Smith: Don't forget the fact that oil companies pay more in taxes than any other industry. But if the government did a higher gas tax right, with a phase-in policy, that could work. The key is to have a fixed price to the tax so we can then make decisions as businesses and consumers. If we were to take new revenues from the tax and use it to build infrastructure, that would be a great allocation of the money.