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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday June 13, 2009 on Bulls & Bears, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Pat Dorsey, Eric Bolling, Tobin Smith and Regina Calcaterra.
$600 Billion Tax Hike to Pay for Health Plan: Recovery Killer?
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: This is the super bowl of stupid ideas. This hurts the economy and the stock market. We have this idea that we can just transfer all this money to help pay for health care reform, when in reality we don't have it--we'll have to borrow it. This simply won't work.
Regina Calcaterra, Democratic strategist: I don't see higher taxes in the future. We could take the federal budget and slice it up and find a way to pay for health care reform. The cost of health care with private insurance companies will go down because we'll finally have the public sector competing with it.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: On the heels of a budget that's expanding, the market cannot handle another program that will eventually cost up to a trillion dollars. We have to find places in the budget to start cutting. But this just hasn't happened. I haven't seen a government that manages to get bigger without massive spending increases to go along with it.
Gary B. Smith, www.thechartman.com: This will absolutely crater the market. We're adding another immense cost burden to the economy. We cannot just cut and slice. Congress and the administration are not going to cut back on any programs. The problem with this program is that government health insurance won't compete with private insurance--it'll drive private insurance out. All you have to do is look at how Medicare, Medicaid, VA Hospitals, Amtrak, etc. are run, and that'll give you an idea of what to expect from a government health insurance program.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: I don't this will have that big an effect on the economy. Odds are that the health care reform that gets passed will be far less radical than what's being floated now. These things always get watered down. The bigger issue right now is the excess capacity on the labor and manufacturing side of the economy. That excess capacity will have far bigger implications on any economic recovery.
America's Money Fix: Wipe Out Welfare?
Eric Bolling: The move by Gov. Schwarzenegger in California to cut back welfare benefits is a good one. The federal government can print money and keep expanding, spending and printing. States don't have that option, so they have to cut back on things like welfare expenditures. Obama should take a lesson from this. It'd be a better way than continuing to print money.
Tobin Smith: Unfortunately, welfare expenditures are a small part of the budget all things considered. Cutting back on federal welfare benefits would only have a small effect on the budget. Often times, government efforts try to make people better off, but ultimately do them worse.
Regina Calcaterra: We should never get rid of welfare programs. No municipality, state or federal government should ever think about balancing the budget on the back of welfare recipients. There are people who desperately need it. The majority of people on welfare are children. There are millions of impoverished children who are relying on food stamps, Medicaid coverage, home heating assistance programs, etc. This is not something we should cut out.
Gary B. Smith: Since 1965, the federal government has spent almost $10 trillion on welfare yet poverty levels remain almost the same. You have to question why we're spending all this money. We can't just maintain the status quo and something clearly isn't working. For that kind of money, we should see some cause and effect.
Pat Dorsey: There are bigger fish to fry. We have to look toward the big elephants in the room--Medicare and social security. If we did something as simple as pushing the age you get social security back a few years and raise the payroll cap on social security by about 15 percent, you shave enormous amounts of money from the budget. But that hurts everyone. It makes us admit as a nation that we've made promises we can't keep.
Cold Cash for Good Grades: Dumb Idea for Kids and America?
Gary B. Smith: This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. What are we going to do next? Pay kids for eating their vegetables or exercising every day? There is something called personal responsibility. That comes from the parents to the child. If the kid doesn't get good grades, a parent sits them down, and tries to set them straight by using the stick rather than the carrot.
Regina Calcaterra: When you look at the program that was implemented, I think it's a good idea. They're targeting impoverished children. If you have a middle income child or a child of a wealthy family, parents provide them with some type of incentive for getting good grades. Parents of poor children can't do that. These are programs to incentivize children to get their grades up and go to college.
Tobin Smith: Incentives work. If you look at these numbers, they are unambiguously great. Clearly this program worked in these trial schools. I would rather give $500 to a kid who works hard and gets good grades than another tenured teacher. Think about the value of future earnings of that kid--society as a whole benefits.